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Changing from a mixed to self-selected vegetarian diet – influence on blood lipids

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Abstract Objective 

To observe any changes in serum concentrations of lipids, when UK meat-eaters switch to a self selected vegetarian diet for 6 months. Design 

Observational study using capillary blood samples and 3-day estimated dietary diary. Setting 

Free-living subjects in the North-West of England. Subjects 

Twelve male and 31 female adult volunteers aged between 18 and 42 years. Outcome measures 

Serum lipids; nutrient intake and anthropometric measurements at baseline and 6 months after switching to a self-selected vegetarian diet. Results 

Total energy intake and amount of energy derived from saturated fatty acids decreased significantly after changing to a vegetarian diet (P < 0.05) whereas energy derived from carbohydrate, and intakes of nonstarch polysaccharide intake increased. On switching to a vegetarian diet, total cholesterol and triacylglycerol concentrations were not significantly changed, but HDL-C was 21% higher than at baseline (1.21 mmol L−1 vs. 1.47 mmol L−1; P = 0.001). Conclusions 

These results suggest that beneficial changes to diet occurred on changing to a self-selected vegetarian diet. Changing to a self-selected vegetarian diet appears to be one way of achieving a better blood lipid profile.

Keywords: HDL-C; coronary heart disease; dietary change; lipoproteins; vegetarians

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: School of Biomolecular Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, UK 2: Faculty of Education, Community Studies and Leisure, Liverpool, UK ;

Publication date: 2002-10-01

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