The association of diet and thrombotic risk factors in healthy male vegetarians and meat-eaters

D Li, A Sinclair, N Mann, A Turner, M Ball, F Kelly, L Abedin, A Wilson
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1999, 53 (8): 612-9

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to assess thrombosis tendency in subjects who were habitual meat-eaters compared with those who were habitual vegetarians.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional comparison of habitual meat-eaters and habitual vegetarians.

SETTING: Free living subjects.

SUBJECTS: One hundred and thirty-nine healthy male subjects (vegans n = 18, ovolacto vegetarians n = 43, moderate-meat-eaters n = 60 and high-meat-eaters n = 18) aged 20-55 y who were recruited in Melbourne.

OUTCOME MEASURES: Dietary intake was assessed using a semi-quantitative Food Frequency Questionnaire. The parameters of thrombosis were measured by standard methods.

RESULTS: Saturated fat and cholesterol intakes were significantly higher and polyunsaturated fat (PUFA) was significantly lower in the meat-eaters compared with vegetarians. In the meat-eaters, the platelet phospholipids AA levels were significantly higher than in the vegetarians, but there was no increase in ex vivo platelet aggregation and plasma 11-dehydro thromboxane B2 levels. Vegetarians, especially the vegans, had a significantly increased mean collagen and ADP stimulated ex vivo whole blood platelet aggregation compared with meat-eaters. The vegan group had a significantly higher mean platelet volume than the other three dietary groups. However, meat-eaters had a significantly higher cluster of cardiovascular risk factors compared with vegetarians, including increased body mass index, waist to hip ratio, plasma total cholesterol (TC), triacylglycerol and LDL-C levels, ratio of TC/HDL-C and LDL-C/HDL-C and plasma factor VII activity.

CONCLUSIONS: Consumption of meat is not associated with an increased platelet aggregation compared with vegetarian subjects.

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