Are vegetarians protected from metabolic disorders?
Consuming meat makes it more likely your gastrointestinal tract will be colonized by bacteria that create a favorable environment for cardiac diseases and metabolic disorders. So meat is okay, but not too much?
While diets rich in fat and poor in fiber are associated with an increased risk of diabetes, dyslipidemia, and cardiovascular diseases, vegetarian diets seem to protect against these diseases. But what effect do our dietary habits have on the bacteria in our intestinal microbiota?
To find out, researchers analyzed the bacterial species present in the intestinal flora of 268 Brazilians who were strict vegetarians, ovo-lacto-vegetarians, (no meat or fish, but dairy products and eggs), or omnivores, then compared their inflammatory status, insulin resistance, and their cardiovascular risk. Overweight subjects were distinctly more frequent among omnivores than vegetarians, whether strict or not, as well as signs of prediabetes and arterial hypertension. In spite of elevated insulin in the blood, their fasting blood sugar was relatively similar, although their lipid profile was less favorable. Across the study, the authors observed a range of inflammatory markers, increasing in severity from vegetarians to omnivores. Analysis of the intestinal microbiota showed that strict vegetarians carried more anti-inflammatory bacteria (Roseburia and Faecalibacterium, Bacteroides) and fewer pro-inflammatory bacteria (Firmicutes). Through this analysis, the authors suggest that consuming products of animal origin may create an environment that promotes chronic inflammation and metabolic disorders.
Through this analysis, the authors suggest that consuming products of animal origin may create an environment that promotes chronic inflammation and metabolic disorders.
Franco-de-Moraes et al. Worse inflammatory profile in omnivores than in vegetarians associates with the gut microbiota composition. Diabetol Metab Syndr (2017) 9:62