We may make fun of the picky vegans who need their meals to be dairy-free and 'organic', but science seems to be on their side, at least as far as the question of health is concerned. A new study, published in The Journal Of Nutrition, has said that people who follow a plant-based diet have better beneficial biomarkers than meat eaters. The study was conducted by a group of researchers at Loma Linda University School of Public Health in California and it took at a detailed look at the metabolic changes that people following different types of diets, including plant-based diet and non-vegetarian diets. Earlier research has also indicated health benefits of including more plant-based foods in daily diet.
The study found that vegan diet came out to be healthiest as compared to other vegetarian diets like semi-vegetarianism as well. The study was titled, "Plasma, Urine, and Adipose Tissue Biomarkers of Dietary Intake Differ Between Vegetarian and Non-Vegetarian Diet Groups in the Adventist Health Study-2". The objective of the study stated, "We sought to determine whether biomarkers of dietary intake also differed between individuals classified as vegetarian (vegan, lacto-ovo-vegetarian, pesco-vegetarian, and semi-vegetarian) and non-vegetarians based on patterns of consumption of meat, dairy, and eggs." The sample size consisted of 840 males and females.
The researchers divided participants into five groups following five different diet types - vegan, lacto-ovo-vegetarian, pesco-vegetarian, semi-vegetarian and non-vegetarian. Next, they collected samples of fasting plasma, overnight urine and adipose tissue from all the groups and studied diet-related biomarkers in them. These included levels of carotenoids, isoflavones, enterolactone, saturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, and vitamins. Each of the four vegetarian diets were compared with non-vegetarian diet by drawing an association between biomarker abundance and diet pattern.
The study said, "In conclusion, we report significant and overall favourable differences in several biomarkers associated with nutrient intake, including carotenoids, isoflavones, enterolactone, and various fatty acids in vegetarians, particularly vegans compared to non-vegetarians."