Vegetarian diet and health problems
Disclaimer: This information is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider before starting any new treatment or discontinuing an existing treatment. Talk with your healthcare provider about any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Nothing contained here is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment.
A balanced vegetarian diet is one of the easiest ways to follow official healthy eating guidelines, with 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day, plenty of complex carbohydrates and antioxidants, as well as lower saturated fat and cholesterol. A balanced vegetarian diet tends to be lower in calories and higher in fibre so can also help maintain a healthy weight.
- Vegetarian and vegan diets are nutritionally adequate if carefully planned.
- Vegetarianism can reduce the risk of heart disease by 32%.
- Vegetarians had a 12% reduced mortality rate compared to non-vegetarians in the Adventist Health Study.
- Vegetarians have lower body mass index (BMI) on average than the general population.
- Soluble fibre can help keep cholesterol under control and a balanced vegetarian diet has up to twice as much fibre as the national average.
- Cancer is the number one cause of death in the world and diet is estimated to cause approximately 30% of all cancers in developed countries. Statistical evidence has shown a clear association between vegetarianism and a lower risk of some cancers.
- Consumption of red and processed meat has been linked to an increased risk of cancer.
Find out more
You can find further information on coronary heart disease, strokes, cholesterol, hypertension, cancer, diabetes and osteoporosis in the in-depth fact sheet on vegetarian diet and health problems.