2008 Volume 15 Issue 3 Pages 122-129
Aim: Despite the possible overall health benefits of a vegetarian diet, research about the nutritional characteristics of Japanese vegetarians is small. Our objective was to investigate the nutritional characteristics of Japanese vegetarians compared with Japanese non-vegetarians.
Methods: The dietary intake, anthropometric and biochemical status of 75 middle-aged Japanese vegetarians (JV, 20 men and 55 women) were compared with those of 50 age- and sex- matched middle-aged Japanese non-vegetarians (JNV, 32 men and 18 women) in a cross-sectional study.
Results: JV men had significantly higher calcium, iron (p<0.001) and dietary fiber (p<0.01), and significantly lower vitamin B12, cholesterol, animal fat intake and percentage of energy as animal protein (p<0.01) than JNV men. In addition, JV men had significantly lower body mass index (p<0.05), diastolic blood pressure (p<0.001), systolic blood pressure (p<0.01), aspartate transaminase, alanin transaminase (p<0.05) and serum triacylglyceride (p<0.001) than JNV men. JV women had significantly lower systolic pressure and serum triacylglyceride (p<0.05) than JNV women.
Conclusions: JV men and women had better nutritional characteristics than JNV men and women from the standpoint of lifestyle-related diseases.