Blood pressure and blood lipids among vegetarian, semivegetarian, and nonvegetarian African Americans

C L Melby, M L Toohey, J Cebrick
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1994, 59 (1): 103-9
Blood pressure (BP) and serum lipids were compared among three dietary groups of Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) African-American adults: vegetarians (VEGs: no consumption of animal flesh, n = 66), semivegetarians (SEMIVEGs: one to three servings of animal flesh per week, n = 56), and nonvegetarians (NONVEGs: daily consumption of animal flesh, n = 45). VEGs had a lower mean waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) and lower dietary intakes of protein, saturated fat, and cholesterol compared with the NONVEGs. Only 16% of the VEGs were confirmed to be hypertensive compared with 35.7% of the SEMIVEGs and 31.1% of the NONVEGs. Independent of differences in WHR, the VEGs had significantly lower concentrations of serum total cholesterol (STC), LDL-C, triglycerides, STC/HDL-C, and LDL-C/HDL-C than the NONVEGs. The SEMIVEGs had lipid values intermediate to the VEG and NONVEG groups. Among African-American SDAs, a vegetarian diet is associated with lower cardiovascular disease risk factors than is an omnivorous diet.

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