Arterial stiffness and cardiometabolic health in omnivores and vegetarians: a cross-sectional pilot study

Selicia T. Mayra, Carol S. Johnston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: Arterial stiffness is a strong predictor of cardiovascular mortality, and often precedes elevations in blood pressure. This cross-sectional pilot study examined differences in arterial stiffness, blood pressure, cardiometabolic markers, anthropometric outcomes, and inflammation in vegetarians and matched omnivores. Participants were healthy, non-smoking adults (18–65 years old) adhering to either a vegetarian/vegan or omnivore diet. Omnivores were matched to vegetarians using broad body mass index (BMI) categories. Results: Arterial stiffness trended higher in omnivores versus vegetarians (7.0 ± 1.5 and 6.8 ± 1.1 m/s, respectively; p = 0.073). This trend was mainly driven by the male omnivores (p = 0.006 for gender effect and p = 0.294 for eating pattern effect). Omnivores displayed higher HDL concentrations compared to vegetarians, 63.8 ± 18.5 and 55.2 ± 16.9 mg/dL; however, total cholesterol/HDL ratio did not vary significantly between groups; p = 0.310. In men, a vegetarian eating pattern may reduce arterial stiffness; however, this benefit may be limited in women, particularly those who are premenopausal. Future research should examine arterial stiffness and cardiometabolic health outcomes in younger versus older female vegetarians, as these data can provide valuable insights on the role of plant-based eating patterns on arterial stiffness and cardiometabolic health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number69
JournalBMC Research Notes
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Aging
  • Arterial stiffness
  • Cardiometabolic health
  • Nutrition
  • Plant-based diets
  • Vegetarian eating patterns

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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