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Approved research

Vegan, vegetarian and omnivore dietary patterns - their impact on the metabolic profiles, body composition and cardiovascular health: A nutri-genetic exploration

Principal Investigator: Dr Deborah Schneider-Luftman
Approved Research ID: 50071
Approval date: September 30th 2019

Lay summary

This research aims to assess the impact of meat, animal products and plant-based food on long term health. It is currently debated whether some meat-free dietary behaviors, notably veganism, can help reduce prevalence of obesity, type II diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. These health conditions currently represent a considerable public health burden and are responsible for the vast majority of premature deaths today. Meanwhile, an increasing number of adults in the UK are turning away from animal products and towards specialized diets like veganism, which has grown by 300% since 2006 and counting over 600,000 in 2018. Perceived health benefits are cited as one of the top reasons for people to abandon animal products from their diets, amongst concerns for environmental issues and animal welfare. Being such recent phenomena in developed nations, veganism, plant-based dieting and their impacts on long-term health outcomes are still not well understood from a scientific point of view. Recent medical research suggests that meat-avoidance and vegetarianism/veganism can have protective effects against obesity and related complications - notably heart disease - but more evidence is needed to fully understand the mechanisms behind this. This UKBiobank (UKB) projects aims to answer some of these questions by looking at the characteristics and prospective health outcomes of UKB participants, who can be differentiated by dietary patterns and animal products intake using their food intake data. Major health outcomes and incidence of CVDs can be assessed using Hospital Episodes Statistics data and electronic healthcare records. Additionally, we seek to investigate the interaction between genetics, diet and disease outcomes, by analysing the genome of UKB participants against their dietary choices and their inherited risk for certain conditions.