Vegetarianism, dietary fiber, and mortality

Am J Clin Nutr. 1982 Nov;36(5):873-7. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/36.5.873.


A prospective study was set up to test the hypotheses that the risk of death from various diseases is reduced by a high intake of dietary fiber or by vegetarianism. A simple screening questionnaire was distributed among persons with a special interest in health foods, and 10,943 subjects were recruited and followed-up. Their mortality was ascertained by flagging their National Health Service records, and analyzed after 7 yr. A significant negative association was found between vegetarianism and mortality from ischemic heart disease which was especially marked among the men and did not seem to be due to a confounding effect of smoking. No significant associations were found with fiber, although persons who habitually ate wholemeal bread had a lower mortality from cerebrovascular disease. These findings confirm other evidence of a lower mortality from heart disease among vegetarians.

MeSH terms

  • Bread
  • Coronary Disease / mortality*
  • Coronary Disease / prevention & control
  • Diet, Vegetarian*
  • Dietary Fiber / administration & dosage*
  • Edible Grain
  • Female
  • Fruit
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mortality
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking
  • United Kingdom
  • Vegetables