Special Issue "The Science of Vegetarian Nutrition and Health"

A special issue of Nutrients (ISSN 2072-6643).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 November 2017).

Special Issue Editor

Assoc. Prof. Karen Jaceldo-Siegl
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Guest Editor
Centre for Nutrition, Healthy Lifestyles and Disease Prevention\Adventist Health Studies, School of Public Health, Loma Linda University, 24951 North Circle Drive, Loma Linda, CA 92354, USA
Tel. +1 909 558 8750; Fax: +1 909 558 0493
Interests: nutritional epidemiology; dietary assessment; nutrition interventions; dietary patterns; biomarkers; life-course; chronic disease

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The purpose of this Special Issue, “The Science of Vegetarian Nutrition and Health”, is (1) to identify biomarkers of intake of plant foods, (2) to evaluate nutrient adequacy and dietary sources of protein, fatty acids or phytochemicals in vegetarian populations, and (3) to identify novel approaches to evaluating vegetarian diets, with the goal to advance vegetarian nutrition science. We know from the literature the health benefits of vegetarian diets through studies that examine the associations of vegetarian diets with disease, mortality, and clinical intermediates of disease (e.g., body weight, BMI, lipids, inflammation). However, the definition of what a vegetarian diet is remains elusive. While comparisons of nutrient or food intake profiles between vegetarian and non-vegetarian diets are valuable, they need to be supplemented by empirical data using biomarkers of intake, as often, dietary intake do not represent concentrations in blood or recovery in urine due to factors unrelated to diet. Combining both intake and biomarker data will add depth to the definition of what a vegetarian diet is, and, as such, have implications on study design that may advance vegetarian nutrition science more expeditiously.

We invite papers that address any of the following topics related to vegetarian diets:

Biomarkers of intake associated with specific plant foods or vegetarian diets
Nutrient adequacy and dietary sources of protein, n-3 and n-6 fatty acids, or phytochemicals and their associations with clinical intermediates/outcomes in populations consuming plant-based diets
Development or evaluation of vegetarian diet scores/indices/dietary patterns and their associations with risk factors of disease, epigenetic events, cognition, or chronic disease
Exposure to vegetarian diets over time (e.g., life course approach) and their associations with risk factors of disease
Novel approaches to evaluate the balance between plant vs animal foods, or natural vs processed foods and their associations with demographic and lifestyle factors, or risk factors of disease

Guest Editor
Assoc. Prof. Karen Jaceldo-Siegl

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Nutrients is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Vegetarian diets
  • Plant-based diets
  • Biomarkers of intake
  • Phytochemicals
  • Life course
  • Intermediate markers of disease
  • Risk factors
  • Epigenetic events
  • Cognition
  • Natural and processed foods

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Dietary Intake of High-Protein Foods and Other Major Foods in Meat-Eaters, Poultry-Eaters, Fish-Eaters, Vegetarians, and Vegans in UK Biobank
Nutrients 2017, 9(12), 1317; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu9121317 - 02 Dec 2017
Cited by 8
Abstract
Vegetarian diets are defined by the absence of meat and fish, but differences in the intake of other foods between meat-eaters and low or non-meat eaters are also important to document. We examined intakes of high-protein foods (meat, poultry, fish, legumes, nuts, vegetarian [...] Read more.
Vegetarian diets are defined by the absence of meat and fish, but differences in the intake of other foods between meat-eaters and low or non-meat eaters are also important to document. We examined intakes of high-protein foods (meat, poultry, fish, legumes, nuts, vegetarian protein alternatives, dairy products, and eggs) and other major food groups (fruit, vegetables, bread, pasta, rice, snack foods, and beverages) in regular meat-eaters, low meat-eaters, poultry-eaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians, and vegans of white ethnicity participating in UK Biobank who had completed at least one web-based 24-h dietary assessment (n = 199,944). In regular meat-eaters, around 25% of total energy came from meat, fish, dairy and plant milk, cheese, yogurt, and eggs. In vegetarians, around 20% of energy came from dairy and plant milk, cheese, yoghurt, eggs, legumes, nuts, and vegetarian protein alternatives, and in vegans around 15% came from plant milk, legumes, vegetarian alternatives, and nuts. Low and non-meat eaters had higher intakes of fruit and vegetables and lower intakes of roast or fried potatoes compared to regular meat-eaters. The differences in the intakes of meat, plant-based high-protein foods, and other foods between meat-eaters and low and non-meat eaters in UK Biobank may contribute to differences in health outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Science of Vegetarian Nutrition and Health)
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Open AccessArticle
A New Approach to Assess Lifetime Dietary Patterns Finds Lower Consumption of Animal Foods with Aging in a Longitudinal Analysis of a Health-Oriented Adventist Population
Nutrients 2017, 9(10), 1118; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu9101118 - 13 Oct 2017
Cited by 6
Abstract
Life-course diet patterns may impact risk of disease, but little is known about dietary trends with aging. In a retrospective longitudinal analysis we estimated lifetime intake of animal products and adherence to vegetarian dietary patterns among 51,082 Adventist Health Study-2 (AHS-2) subjects using [...] Read more.
Life-course diet patterns may impact risk of disease, but little is known about dietary trends with aging. In a retrospective longitudinal analysis we estimated lifetime intake of animal products and adherence to vegetarian dietary patterns among 51,082 Adventist Health Study-2 (AHS-2) subjects using data from a reliable life-course dietary (meats, dairy, eggs) questionnaire. Results showed a marked tendency to consume fewer animal products (in total) in older years and to reduce consumption of meat, poultry and fish, but not eggs or dairy. Among the 29% of elderly subjects who during their lifetime kept the same dietary pattern (LTS) were: LTS-vegans (1.1%), LTS-lacto-ovo vegetarians (31.2%), LTS-pesco vegetarians (0.49%), LTS-semi vegetarians (3.7%), and LTS-non-vegetarians (63.5%). Among the 71% of switchers were “Converters” (59.7%) who moved towards and “Reverters” (9.1%) who moved away from vegetarian diets, and Multiverters (31.2%), who had moved in both directions. LTS-non-vegetarians, and also reverters, were more overweight and showed a less healthy lifestyle than others. We conclude that the dietary patterns are dynamic with strong trends to reduce animal foods and to adopt more vegetarian patterns with aging. The disease experience of subjects with different lifetime dietary patterns can be compared. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Science of Vegetarian Nutrition and Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Comparison of Sociodemographic and Nutritional Characteristics between Self-Reported Vegetarians, Vegans, and Meat-Eaters from the NutriNet-Santé Study
Nutrients 2017, 9(9), 1023; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu9091023 - 15 Sep 2017
Cited by 22
Abstract
Background: There is a growing trend for vegetarian and vegan diets in many Western countries. Epidemiological evidence suggesting that such diets may help in maintaining good health is rising. However, dietary and sociodemographic characteristics of vegetarians and vegans are not well known. The [...] Read more.
Background: There is a growing trend for vegetarian and vegan diets in many Western countries. Epidemiological evidence suggesting that such diets may help in maintaining good health is rising. However, dietary and sociodemographic characteristics of vegetarians and vegans are not well known. The aim of this cross-sectional study was to describe sociodemographic and nutritional characteristics of self-reported, adult vegetarians and vegans, compared to meat-eaters, from the French NutriNet-Santé study. Methods: Participants were asked if they were following a specific diet. They were then classified into three self-reported diet groups: 90,664 meat-eaters, 2370 vegetarians, and 789 vegans. Dietary data were collected using three repeated 24-h dietary records. Multivariable polytomic logistic regression models were perfomed to assess the association between the sociodemographic characteristics and type of diet. The prevalence of nutrient intake inadequacy was estimated, by sex and age for micronutrients, as well as by type of self-reported diet. Results: Compared with meat-eaters, vegetarians were more likely to have a higher educational level, whereas vegans had a lower education level. Compared with meat-eaters, vegetarians were more likely to be women, younger individuals, and to be self-employed or never employed rather than managerial staff. Vegetarians and vegans substituted animal protein-dense products with a higher consumption of plant protein-dense products (e.g., soy-based products or legumes). Vegetarians had the most balanced diets in terms of macronutrients, but also had a better adherence to French dietary guidelines. Vegetarians exhibited a lower estimated prevalence of inadequacies for micronutrients such as antioxidant vitamins (e.g., for vitamin E, 28.9% for vegetarian women <55 years of age vs. 41.6% in meat-eaters) while vegans exhibited a higher estimated prevalence of inadequacies for some nutrients, in particular vitamin B12 (69.9% in men and 83.4% in women <55 years of age), compared to meat-eaters. Conclusions: Our study highlighted that, overall, self-reported vegetarians and vegans may meet nutritional recommendations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Science of Vegetarian Nutrition and Health)

Review

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Open AccessReview
Soy, Soy Foods and Their Role in Vegetarian Diets
Nutrients 2018, 10(1), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10010043 - 05 Jan 2018
Cited by 14
Abstract
Soy is a basic food ingredient of traditional Asian cuisine used for thousands of years. In Western countries, soybeans have been introduced about a hundred years ago and recently they are mainly used for surrogate foods production. Soy and soy foods are common [...] Read more.
Soy is a basic food ingredient of traditional Asian cuisine used for thousands of years. In Western countries, soybeans have been introduced about a hundred years ago and recently they are mainly used for surrogate foods production. Soy and soy foods are common nutritional solutions for vegetarians, due to their high protein content and versatility in the production of meat analogues and milk substitutes. However, there are some doubts about the potential effects on health, such as the effectiveness on cardiovascular risk reduction or, conversely, on the possible disruption of thyroid function and sexual hormones. The soy components that have stimulated the most research interest are isoflavones, which are polyphenols with estrogenic properties highly contained in soybeans. In this review, we discuss the characteristics of soy and soy foods, focusing on their nutrient content, including phytoestrogens and other bioactive substances that are noteworthy for vegetarians, the largest soy consumers in the Western countries. The safety of use will also be discussed, given the growing trend in adoption of vegetarian styles and the new soy-based foods availability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Science of Vegetarian Nutrition and Health)
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Open AccessReview
Cardio-Metabolic Benefits of Plant-Based Diets
Nutrients 2017, 9(8), 848; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu9080848 - 09 Aug 2017
Cited by 24
Abstract
Cardio-metabolic disease, namely ischemic heart disease, stroke, obesity, and type 2 diabetes, represent substantial health and economic burdens. Almost one half of cardio-metabolic deaths in the U.S. might be prevented through proper nutrition. Plant-based (vegetarian and vegan) diets are an effective strategy for [...] Read more.
Cardio-metabolic disease, namely ischemic heart disease, stroke, obesity, and type 2 diabetes, represent substantial health and economic burdens. Almost one half of cardio-metabolic deaths in the U.S. might be prevented through proper nutrition. Plant-based (vegetarian and vegan) diets are an effective strategy for improving nutrient intake. At the same time, they are associated with decreased all-cause mortality and decreased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and coronary heart disease. Evidence suggests that plant-based diets may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease events by an estimated 40% and the risk of cerebral vascular disease events by 29%. These diets also reduce the risk of developing metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes by about one half. Properly planned vegetarian diets are healthful, effective for weight and glycemic control, and provide metabolic and cardiovascular benefits, including reversing atherosclerosis and decreasing blood lipids and blood pressure. The use of plant-based diets as a means of prevention and treatment of cardio-metabolic disease should be promoted through dietary guidelines and recommendations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Science of Vegetarian Nutrition and Health)
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