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Health Biomarkers in Adults Are More Closely Linked to Diet Quality Attributes Than to Plant-Based Diet Categorization

College of Health Solutions, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ 85004, USA
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Nutrients 2019, 11(6), 1427; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11061427
Received: 16 May 2019 / Revised: 19 June 2019 / Accepted: 23 June 2019 / Published: 25 June 2019
Although plant-based diets are promoted for healthy outcomes, these diets are not synonymous with high-quality diets. Plant-based diets can include highly processed, less healthful foods, including savory snacks, pastries, and sugary fruit drinks. This cross-sectional study examined the diet quality of vegetarian and omnivorous adults, matched for gender, age, and adiposity, and related diet quality to standard health biomarkers. Diet quality was assessed using the Rapid Eating and Activity Assessment for Participants Short Version questionnaire. Participants (17 vegetarians and 16 omnivores; 28.2 ± 8.9 years; 22.5 ± 2.7 kg/m2) were non-smokers and healthy by self-report. The median duration of adherence to the vegetarian diet was 27 months. Physical activity level and diet quality did not differ significantly between diet groups. Moreover, health biomarkers did not differ by diet groups. When participants were regrouped by low versus high diet quality, health biomarkers differed significantly between groups for fasting insulin, HOMA-IR, triglyceride (TG)/HDL ratio, and blood folate, with more favorable levels in the group with high diet quality. These data suggest that health biomarkers more closely align with diet quality attributes than with plant-based diet categorization. Thus, messaging focused on healthy diet attributes may lead to better health outcomes than the simple promotion of plant-based diets. View Full-Text
Keywords: diet quality; vegetarian diets; plant-based diet; health biomarkers; chronic disease risk; REAP-S diet quality; vegetarian diets; plant-based diet; health biomarkers; chronic disease risk; REAP-S
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Mayra, S.; Ugarte, N.; Johnston, C.S. Health Biomarkers in Adults Are More Closely Linked to Diet Quality Attributes Than to Plant-Based Diet Categorization. Nutrients 2019, 11, 1427.

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