Diet and serum lipids in vegan vegetarians: a model for risk reduction

J Am Diet Assoc. 1991 Apr;91(4):447-53.


The lipid levels and dietary habits of 31 Seventh-Day Adventist vegan vegetarians (aged 5 to 46 years) who consume no animal products were assessed. Mean serum total cholesterol (3.4 mmol/L), low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol (1.8 mmol/L), and triglyceride (0.8 mmol/L) levels were lower than expected values derived from the Lipid Research Clinics Population Studies prevalence data. Mean high-density-lipoprotein cholesterol (1.3 mmol/L) was comparable to expected values. Analysis of quantitative food frequency data showed that vegans had a significantly lower daily intake of total energy, percentage of energy from fat (31% vs 38%), total fat, saturated fat, monounsaturated fatty acids, cholesterol, and protein and a significantly higher intake of fiber than a sample of matched omnivore controls. Vegans' food intake was also compared with expected values, matched for sex and age, derived from the second National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals 24-hour recall data. The vegan diet was characterized by increased consumption of almonds, cashews, and their nut butters; dried fruits; citrus fruits; soy milk; and greens. We conclude from the present study that a strict vegan diet, which is typically very low in saturated fat and dietary cholesterol and high in fiber, can help children and adults maintain or achieve desirable blood lipid levels.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Diet, Vegetarian*
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fiber / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Eating
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipids / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Lipids
  • Cholesterol