This Is What Happens To Your Body When You Stop
Nutrition

This is what happens to your body when you stop eating meat

People who follow vegetarian diets have healthier biomarkers according to a recently published study in the United Kingdom.

This is what happens to your body when you stop eating meat

Vegetarians seem to have a healthier biomarker profile than meat eaters, and this applies to adults of any age and weight, and is also unaffected by smoking and alcohol consumption, according to a new study of more than 166,000 UK adults, presented this week at the European Congress on Obesity (ECO).Biomarkers can have good and bad health effects, promoting or preventing cancer, cardiovascular and age-related diseases, and other chronic conditions, and have been used extensively to assess the effect of diets on health. However, the evidence for the metabolic benefits associated with being a vegetarian is unclear.To find out if diet choice can influence levels of disease markers in blood and urine, researchers at the University of Glasgow conducted a cross-sectional study in which data from 177,723 healthy participants (ages 37 to 73) of the study were analyzed UK Biobank, who did not report any major change in their diet during the last five years.Participants were classified as vegetarian (do not eat red meat, poultry, or fish; 4,111 participants) or meat eaters (166,516 participants) based on their self-reported diet. The researchers examined the association with 19 blood and urinary biomarkers related to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, liver, bone and joint health, and kidney function.Even after accounting for potentially influential factors such as age, gender, education, ethnicity, obesity, smoking, and alcohol use, the analysis found that compared to meat eaters, vegetarians had significantly lower levels of 13 biomarkers, including total cholesterol; low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL), the so-called “bad cholesterol”; apolipoprotein A (linked to disease cardiovascular), apolipoprotein B (linked to cardiovascular disease) gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) and alanine aminotransferase (AST) – markers of liver function that indicate inflammation or damage to cells; insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1; a hormone that promotes the growth and proliferation of cancer cells); uric acid; total protein; and creatinine (marker of worsening kidney function).However, the vegetarians also had lower levels of beneficial biomarkers, such as “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and vitamin D and calcium (linked to bone and joint health). Also, they had a significantly higher level of fats (triglycerides) in the blood and cystatin-C (which suggests a worse state of the kidneys).No association was found with blood sugar levels (HbA1c), systolic blood pressure, aspartate aminotransferase (AST; a marker of liver cell damage), or C-reactive protein (CRP; an inflammatory marker).“Our results are sobering,” says Dr. Carlos Celis-Morales, from the University of Glasgow (UK), who led the research. In addition to not eating red and processed meats, which have been linked to heart disease and some cancers, people who follow a vegetarian diet tend to consume more vegetables, fruits and nuts, which contain more nutrients, fiber and other potentially beneficial compounds. These nutritional differences may help explain why vegetarians appear to have lower levels of disease biomarkers that can lead to cell damage and chronic disease.”