The Oxford Vegetarian Study: An Overview
“The Oxford Vegetarian Study” is a long-term analysis comparing vegetarian and non-vegetarian diets based on various health measurements including cholesterol, mortality, and other factors. This research found “the health of vegetarians in this study is generally good and compares favorably with that of the nonvegetarian control subjects.”
This study assessed the health of more than 11,000 people residing in the United Kingdom. At the outset, participants completed a questionnaire about their diet and other lifestyle factors. Participants were then identified at the UK National Heath Service for follow up information on incidences of mortality and cancer. In addition, researchers took blood samples of subjects under the age of 70 and dietary records were also kept by subjects for a short duration.
Research findings indicated that meat and cheese consumption were positively associated with total cholesterol levels in men and women. Also, dietary fiber was found to be inversely related with cholesterol. Upon conclusion of the study, researchers also found that mortality from ischemic heart disease was also positively associated with intakes of total animal fat, saturated animal fat, and dietary cholesterol. Non-meat-eaters had half the risk of meat eaters-of requiring an emergency appendectomy, although vegans appeared to be at risk for iodine deficiency.