Our data show a progressive weight increase from a total vegetarian diet toward a non-vegetarian diet. For instance, 55-year-old male and female vegans weigh about 30 pounds less than non-vegetarians of similar height. Additionally, levels of cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, and the metabolic syndrome all had the same trend – the closer you are to being a vegetarian, the lower the health risk in these areas. In the case of type 2 diabetes, prevalence in vegans and lacto-ovo vegetarians was half that of non-vegetarians, even after controlling for socioeconomic and lifestyle factors.

Although the results do not prove causation, they do suggest that possibility, thus, it is interesting to examine the characteristics of vegans/vegetarians.

Compared to non-vegetarians, vegans/vegetarians:

- Watched less television
- Slept more hours per night
- Consumed more fruits and vegetables
- Consumed less saturated fat
- Typically ate foods with a low glycemic index, such as beans, legumes and nuts

Related publications from AHS-2:

Vegetarian dietary patterns are associated with a lower risk of metabolic syndrome.

Vegetarian diets: What do we know of their effects on common chronic diseases?

Type of Vegetarian Diet, Body Weight, and Prevalence of Type 2 Diabetes

Additional Findings on Lifestyle, Diet and Disease

Diet and Colon Polyps
High consumption of cooked green vegetables, brown rice, legumes and dried fruit was linked to a decreased risk of colon polyps, a precursor to colon cancer. Read more >>