Article

Vegetarian diets: What are the advantages?

Institute of Nutritional Sciences, University of Giessen, Giessen, Germany.
Forum of nutrition 02/2005; 57(57):147-56. DOI: 10.1159/000083787
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT A growing body of scientific evidence indicates that wholesome vegetarian diets offer distinct advantages compared to diets containing meat and other foods of animal origin. The benefits arise from lower intakes of saturated fat, cholesterol and animal protein as well as higher intakes of complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, magnesium, folic acid, vitamin C and E, carotenoids and other phytochemicals. Since vegetarians consume widely divergent diets, a differentiation between various types of vegetarian diets is necessary. Indeed, many contradictions and misunderstandings concerning vegetarianism are due to scientific data from studies without this differentiation. In the past, vegetarian diets have been described as being deficient in several nutrients including protein, iron, zinc, calcium, vitamin B12 and A, n-3 fatty acids and iodine. Numerous studies have demonstrated that the observed deficiencies are usually due to poor meal planning. Well-balanced vegetarian diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including children, adolescents, pregnant and lactating women, the elderly and competitive athletes. In most cases, vegetarian diets are beneficial in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, renal disease and dementia, as well as diverticular disease, gallstones and rheumatoid arthritis. The reasons for choosing a vegetarian diet often go beyond health and well-being and include among others economical, ecological and social concerns. The influences of these aspects of vegetarian diets are the subject of the new field of nutritional ecology that is concerned with sustainable life styles and human development.

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    • "Epidemiological studies have shown that the consumption of a diet rich in vegetables and fruits reduces the incidence of various types of cancer, diabetes , and cardiovascular and other chronic diseases, with a possible contribution from plant sterols (Ling & Jones, 1995; Pegel, 1997; Stone & Van Horn, 2002; Leitzmann, 2005; Rudkowska, 2008). "
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    Pharmaceutical Biology 06/2010; 48(6):637-42. DOI:10.3109/13880200903229106 · 1.34 Impact Factor
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    • "Epidemiological studies have shown that the consumption of a diet rich in vegetables and fruits reduces the incidence of various types of cancer, diabetes , and cardiovascular and other chronic diseases, with a possible contribution from plant sterols (Ling & Jones, 1995; Pegel, 1997; Stone & Van Horn, 2002; Leitzmann, 2005; Rudkowska, 2008). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: β-Sitosterol is used as a dietary supplement for lowering plasma cholesterol, and has atherosclerosis preventive, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antipyretic, induced apoptosis, and anticancer effects. In order to understand the effect of the molecule we have investigated the molecule theoretically. The structural, vibrational, and electronic properties of the β-sitosterol molecule have been investigated theoretically by performing molecular mechanics (MM+ force field), semiempirical self-consistent-field molecular-orbital (PM3), and density functional theory (B3LYP) calculations. The geometry of the considered molecule has been optimized; the vibrational dynamics and the electronic properties have been calculated in its ground state in the gas phase. The optimized structure of the molecule is not planar, and its heat of formation is exothermic. The calculated infrared spectrum for β-sitosterol agrees well qualitatively with the experimentally determined FTIR spectrum. The interfrontier molecular orbitals are localized mainly on the double C-C bond, and the energy difference of the corresponding orbitals is relatively small, which makes the molecule kinetically stable. According to the calculated dipole moment, β-sitosterol is a polar molecule. The calculated results for the β-sitosterol molecule in the present study will aid in elucidation of the mechanism of action and may further be used in lipid metabolism drug design studies.
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    • "Please cite this article in press as: Rastmanesh R. Hypothetical hormonal mechanism by which potassium-rich diets benefit patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Med Hypotheses (2009), doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2009.05.035 phytochemicals have been shown to offer distinct advantages compared to diets containing meat and other foods of animal origin [12]. The first person to definitively link K with RA was De Coti- Marsh in a book which purports to have numerous case histories using K associated with numerous anions [13]. "
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