Hematological, anthropometric, and metabolic comparisons between vegetarian and nonvegetarian elderly women.Int J Sports Med. 1989 Aug; 10(4):243-51.IJ
The purpose of this study was to investigate hematological, anthropometric, and metabolic differences in elderly women who were similar in most respects except for choice of diet. Nineteen vegetarian (V) and 12 non-vegetarian (NV) elderly women (mean ages 72.3 +/- 1.4 and 69.5 +/- 1.0 years, respectively) were recruited based on several selection criteria including race, religion, education, Quetelet Index, absence of major chronic disease and use of medications, physical activity, and geographic area. Average years of adherence by V and NV groups to dietary regimens were 46.3 +/- 3.3 and 69.6 +/- 1.0, respectively; Hematological comparisons revealed that the V elderly women had significantly lower glucose (4.60 +/- 0.09 vs 5.13 +/- 0.11 mmol/L), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (3.14 +/- 0.19 vs 4.09 +/- 0.27 mmol/L) and total cholesterol levels (5.41 +/- 0.20 vs 6.48 +/- 0.29 mmol/L) than the NV elderly women (P less than 0.01) for each. The V elderly women tended to have less body fat and midupper arm muscle area than the NV. No differences between groups were found in a variety of metabolic and electrocardiographic parameters during graded maximal treadmill testing except for lower heart rates in the V women. VO2max was not significantly different between the V and NV elderly women (23.8 +/- 1.5 vs 21.9 +/- 0.8 ml.kg-1.min-1, respectively). In summary, when healthy elderly V women are compared with closely matched NV peers, the vegetarian diet is associated with several benefits, primarily lower blood glucose and lipid levels, but not greater functional capacity.