Vegetarians have a lower fasting insulin level and higher insulin sensitivity than matched omnivores: A cross-sectional study.Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis 2019; 29(5):467-473NM
BACKGROUND AND AIMS
Potential associations of vegetarian diet patterns with fasting insulin (FI) and insulin sensitivity remain unclear. We aimed to investigate whether vegetarian diets were associated with FI and insulin sensitivity in a cross-sectional study in Chinese vegetarians and matched omnivores and then to test whether it is independent of body mass index (BMI).
METHODS AND RESULTS
This study included 279 vegetarians (73 vegans, 206 lacto-ovo-vegetarians) and 279 age- and sex-matched omnivores. Fasting blood glucose (FG) and FI concentrations were measured, and β-cell function (HOMA-β) and insulin resistance index (HOMA-IR) were used to evaluate insulin sensitivity. All blood glucose and insulin sensitivity indices were naturally log-transformed, and multiple-linear regression was used to determine the association between vegetarian diet patterns and insulin sensitivity after adjusting for confounders including BMI, visceral fat area, physical activity, sedentary time, income, alcohol consumption, and daily dietary intakes of macronutrients. Compared to omnivores, both vegan diet [β = -0.25, 95% CI: (-0.38, -0.14)] and lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet [β = -0.10, 95% CI: (-0.18, -0.01)] were negatively associated with HOMA-IR after adjusting for BMI. Vegan diet remained negatively associated with FI [β = -0.16, 95% CI: (-0.30, -0.01)] and HOMA-IR [β = -0.17, 95% CI: (-0.32, -0.03)] after adjusting for all confounders.
Vegetarian diet, especially vegan diet, is negatively associated with FI and IR, independent of BMI.