Taiwanese Vegetarians and Omnivores: Dietary Composition, Prevalence of Diabetes and IFG


The diabetes epidemic in Asia and particularly in China emerged simultaneously with increased meat consumption and higher proportion of energy intake from animal protein and fat [1]. Compared with Westerners, Asians tend to incur diabetes at a younger age and at a lower body mass index (BMI), possibly due to genetic susceptibility in combination with environmental exposures [2]. Vegetarian diets have been associated with a lower prevalence [3] and incidence [4] of diabetes among Seventh day Adventists. Previous clinical trials have shown vegetarian diets improve glycemic control [5] and insulin sensitivity [6]. Although several small studies reported lower glucose level and better insulin sensitivity in Taiwanese vegetarians than omnivores [7][9], no study thus far has examined whether a vegetarian diet protects against diabetes in Chinese ethnic Asian population, a high risk population that may incur diabetes despite having a normal BMI value [2]. Moreover, Asian diets tend to be lower in meat and higher in plant foods compared with Western diet. It remains unknown whether a diet completely avoiding meat and fish would further extend the protective effect of a plant-based diet. In addition, most studies on Asian vegetarians tend to compare vegetarians from religious groups with omnivores from the general population [7]. Religious and spiritual practices (a main determinant of vegetarian dietary practice in Asia) may be associated with social and emotional support which may confound health outcomes [10], [11].


We found a strong protective association between Taiwanese vegetarian diet and diabetes/IFG, after controlling for various potential confounders and risk factors.

The full study report can be found here.



Type of vegetarian diet, obesity and diabetes in adult Indian population

…vegetarianism in India is associated with unique characteristics. It is usually a lifelong pattern and adherence crosses multiple generations; it generally comprises high consumption of whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds and dairy with spices and seasonings unique to the Indian diet. Hence, the combination/or the pattern of vegetarian diet may yield different findings than similar studies conducted in the West and it is thus possible to assess dietary associations with chronic diseases which have been difficult in the West due to low frequency. This study uses data from the third National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3, 2005–06), a survey of 109,041 Indian households which collected information on a wide range of dietary, societal, lifestyle, and environmental determinants of morbidity and chronic ailments including diabetes [16]. The NFHS-3 provides a unique opportunity to examine associations between types of vegetarian diet and diabetes and obesity in a large, nationally representative sample.

In this large, nationally representative sample of Indian adults, lacto-, lacto-ovo and semi-vegetarian diets were associated with a lower likelihood of diabetes. These findings may assist in the development of interventions to address the growing burden of overweight/obesity and diabetes in Indian population. However, prospective studies with better measures of dietary intake and clinical measures of diabetes are needed to clarify this relationship.

Interesting study with limitations as noted by the researchers.  Go here for the full study report.

Vegan Diet Rapidly Improves Type 2 Diabetes Markers in Adults

The 16-week randomized controlled trial in 73 adults showed that participants who ate a diet of vegetables, grains, legumes, and fruits significantly improved their overall metabolic condition, say Hana Kahleova, MD, PhD, of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington, DC, and colleagues.

Small RCT study.  Source article here.

Light Exercise Helps Older Men Live Longer

Read the source article at this link.

The researchers report that any amount of physical activity, including light exercise, was linked to a lower risk of dying.

Also, each extra 30 minutes a day of light intensity activity, such as gentle gardening or taking the dog for a walk, was associated with a 17% reduction in the risk of dying.

Aerobic exercise may also slow cognitive decline  in Alzheimer’s according to a recent  literature review.

“Exercise can change the brain chemistry. It can change neurotransmitters associated with depression, anxiety and stress as well as brain chemicals associated with learning,” said Carol Ewing Garber, Director of the Applied Physiology Lab at Columbia University, Teachers College, in New York City, who wasn’t involved in the study. “These changes can result in improved mood, resilience to stress and improve functions of the brain such as processing speed, attention, short term memory and cognitive flexibility among other things.”


The World’s Healthiest Cuisines: What Five Countries Can Teach Us about Good Eating

“We’ve Americanized dishes to the extent that they don’t have their original health benefits,” says Dr. Daphne Miller, a family physician in the San Francisco Bay area and author of The Jungle Effect: The Healthiest Diets from Around the World—Why They Work and How to Make Them Work for You.

When leaving the Y after a less than strenuous workout I did something I rarely do.  I picked up one of those advertiser supported magazines off one of many racks.  I’m glad I did because the latest issue of Natural Awakenings contained this article.  I found their website and read the article online because the print copy was not in

Large Print.

Aging – Ignore, Deny or Embrace?

Perhaps the science will advance so that telomere reconstitution is a practical reality, that the DNA epigenetic changes can be reversed, that senescent cells can be eradicated, that the free radical damage to mitochondria can be dismantled, that the microbiome can be altered back to a youthful status. Perhaps metformin, rapamycin or resveratrol will have a significant impact. Perhaps.

But for now, it might be a more fruitful and meaningful personal use of time and endeavor to consider what the normal aging process means, not only physically and mentally but also spiritually and consider adjustments to lifestyles, behaviors and thought processes that will help usher in a productive and meaningful and hopefully healthy later years.

Source article here.

I see ignore and deny every day.  Male 35 5.6 220, elevated liver enzymes, elevated BP, and tobacco use within the past year.

Every now and then I see an embrace.  But this is rare.

My plan is to embrace and to live forever or die trying.

The Mortality Effects of Retirement

WSJ: What do the numbers show?

DR. FITZPATRICK: There’s a sizable, 2% increase in male mortality at age 62 in the U.S. Over the 34 years we studied, there were an additional 400 to 800 deaths per year beyond what we expected, or an additional 13,000 to 27,000 excess male deaths within 12 months of turning 62. That 2% is 2 of every 100 men in the whole male population who turn 62. We really think these deaths are concentrated among the 10% of men who retire at 62, so instead of 2 in 100, it’d be 2 in 10. So, the increase in the probability of death for men who retire could be as high as 20%. I actually think that’s a pretty big deal.

You can find the original WSJ article at this link. 

If you can’t get past the firewall or if you want to read the original study go here.

    Social Security eligibility begins at age 62.
    1/3 of Americans immediately claim benefits upon reaching this age.
    There is a discontinuous increase in male mortality at age 62 of 2%.
    This increase in mortality is closely connected to changes in labor force participation.
    Our results suggest mortality rises because men retire once Social Security is available.