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Vegetarian diet and cholesterol and TAG levels by gender

  • Zhi-Hong Jian (a1), Yi-Chen Chiang (a1), Chia-Chi Lung (a1), Chien-Chang Ho (a2), Pei-Chieh Ko (a1), Oswald Ndi Nfor (a1), Hui-Chin Chang (a1) (a3), Yi-Ching Liaw (a1) (a3), Yu-Chiu Liang (a4) and Yung-Po Liaw (a1) (a5)...

The present study assessed the effects of vegetarian and omnivorous diets on HDL-cholesterol (HDL-C), LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C), TAG and the ratio of HDL-C to total cholesterol (TC) by gender.


HDL-C, LDL-C, TAG and HDL-C:TC were compared among three diet groups (vegan, ovo-lacto vegetarian and omnivorous). Multivariate linear regression analysis was performed to examine factors significantly and independently associated with vegetarian status and to estimate the β value of lipid profiles for the diet groups.


A cross-sectional study. Data were obtained from the Taiwanese Survey on the Prevalence of Hyperglycemia, Hyperlipidemia and Hypertension (TwSHHH).


The study comprised included 3257 men and 3551 women.


After adjusting for confounders, vegan and ovo-lacto vegetarian diets lowered LDL-C levels (β=−10·98, P=0·005 and β=−7·12, P=0·025, respectively) in men compared with omnivorous diet. There was a significant association between HDL-C and vegan diet (β=−6·53, P=0·004). In females, the β values of HDL-C, TAG and HDL-C:TC were −5·72 (P<0·0001), 16·51 (P=0·011) and −0·02 (P=0·012) for vegan diet, and −4·86 (P=0·002), 15·09 (P=0·008) and −0·01 (P=0·026) for ovo-lacto vegetarian diet, when compared with omnivorous diet.


Vegan diet was associated with lower HDL-C concentrations in both males and females. Because the ovo-lacto vegetarian diet was effective in lowering LDL-C, it may be more appropriate for males.

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Public Health Nutrition
  • ISSN: 1368-9800
  • EISSN: 1475-2727
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