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My Blood Tests, Vegetarian vs. Vegan

Posted by tinako on December 15, 2009

In a comprehensive study of one person, blood chemistry improved over two years with a switch from a vegetarian to vegan diet and switching from walking to running.

Test 1 was taken after being vegetarian for 15 years.  I only ate eggs that were in food made by others  (didn’t cook with them myself, never ate whole eggs or anything that was mostly eggs, like quiche).  I bought and consumed skim milk and cheese – I had part-skim mozzarella on pizza twice a week, skim cow’s milk on my cereal most mornings, and frequently put cheddar cheese on/in dishes I prepared.  I probably had ice cream once a week.  I took a lot of walks and was probably above-average active.

Test 2 was taken after being vegan for 1-1/2 years and also running 70 min per week for two years (I don’t walk as much now as I did pre-running, but still am pretty active generally).  I didn’t have my cholesterol tested last year.  Results below show Test 1/Test 2.

Cholesterol: 148 / 145 (< 200 is “desirable”)

Triglycerides: 64 / 54 (< 150 is “normal”

HDL: 43 / 65 (good cholesterol, higher is better, > 60 offers benefits)

LDL: 92 / 69 (bad cholesterol, < 100 is “optimal”)

Cholesterol/HDL Ratio: 3.4 / 2.2 (4.5 is “average,” “best” is 2 or 3)

My BMI went from 23 to 21.4

These tests I don’t have past results for:

  • My blood pressure this time was 106 over 68 (normal, suggested optimal is 120 over 80).
  • My fasting glucose was 80 (< 100 is normal).
  • My iron is 14.1 this time (> 7.2 is normal)
  • My B-12 was 331, well within normal range.  My vitamin D was low, which I understand is common among vegans and omnivores alike.  My white blood cells have been low for years; I don’t know what’s up with that.

I was surprised my cholesterol did not go down more, but if I understand it correctly, it looks like my two different types of cholesterol went up and down by the same amount, and in advantageous directions, but leaving only a slight total net loss.

I would like to point out that I went from eating well below average animal protein and little animal fat to eating none of either, and I still saw impressive improvements in many measures.  From what I’ve read in The China Study and many other studies, the “normal” and “desirable” ranges doctors give for results are often at higher levels than would confer the most benefits.  For example, even though Americans think cholesterol levels less than 200 are just fine, as blood cholesterol levels in China decreased from 170 to 90, twelve different kinds of cancer decreased.

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