Changes in biochemical parameters by gender and time: Effect of short-term vegan diet adherence.PLoS One. 2020; 15(8):e0237065.Plos
Vegetarian diets adapted for various reasons that may include religious, ethical, and health considerations have reasonable health benefits including weight loss, and favorable metabolic changes. However, studies that assessed health benefits associated with vegan diet practices during the Ethiopian Orthodox Christian (EOC) Lenten fasting remains limited. This study has, therefore, assessed how short-term vegan diet associated with metabolic traits, including weight, body mass index (BMI), circumference, blood pressure, total cholesterol (TC), triglycerides (TG), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), through longitudinal cross-sectional study design.
Seventy-five subjects (34 females and 41 males) with a mean age of [+SD] 27.3 + 5.8 years (range, 18 and 35) took part in the study. The study followed three assessment sessions: at baseline, during the Lenten (week 7), and 7 weeks after the end of the Lenten (week 14). An automatic chemistry analyzer (Mindray, BE-2000, China) used for lipid profile analysis. We used paired sample t-test in pre and post-performance and repeated measures ANOVA with Bonferroni post hoc adjustment between time points. The statistical significance was set at p < 0.05.
The EOC fasting with vegan diet induced significantly lower blood pressure, weight, BMI, TC, HDL-C, LDL-C, and TC: HDL-C ratios, during Lenten (that is vegan diet consumption), but a regain noted in these parameters 7-weeks after Lenten (that is omnivore diet). On gender differences, vegan diet associated with significantly lower blood pressure, TC, and LDL-C in females compared with age-matched male counterparts. Some methodological limitations of this study are discussed with particular reference to lack of a randomized control group and self-reported data that limit this study in establishing a causal relationship through observed associations.
Vegan diet consumption even for short period corroborate ideal metabolic traits, with more favorable changes noted in women than age-matched men counterparts. These findings might help to define vegetarian diets as part of religious fasting (beyond its spiritual goals) as a non-pharmacological prescription in different populations, and our findings add to growing evidence in these subjects.