Brazilian vegetarians diet quality markers and comparison with the general population: A nationwide cross-sectional study.

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Brazilian vegetarians diet quality markers and comparison with the general population: A nationwide cross-sectional study.

PLoS One. 2020;15(5):e0232954

Authors: Hargreaves SM, Ara?jo WMC, Nakano EY, Zandonadi RP

BACKGROUND: Vegetarianism is an increasingly common practice worldwide. Despite good evidence from other countries regarding vegetarians’ diet quality, data from the Brazilian population is still scarce.
OBJECTIVE: To characterize the vegetarian Brazilian population and evaluate their diet quality compared to the general Brazilian population.
METHODS: We performed a nationwide cross-sectional study using an online self-administered questionnaire, previously validated for the Brazilian population, to evaluate diet quality markers of vegetarians. The invitation to participate in the survey was spread nationwide, aimed at vegetarian communities. Individuals who considered themselves vegetarians and were at least 18 years old were eligible to participate. The results on regular intake and intake adequacy were compared among vegetarians and between genders using the Pearson’s chi-square test. The body mass index (BMI) were analyzed by the Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) followed by Tukey post-hoc test. The Kolmogorov-Smirnov test verified normality. All analyses considered bilateral hypotheses and a significance level of 5% (p <0.05).
RESULTS: Brazilian vegetarians presented better diet quality markers, such as higher regular weekly intake and adequate daily intake of fruits and vegetables, and lower regular intake of soft drinks when compared to the general Brazilian population. Vegetarians also presented a proportionally higher consumption of natural foods and lower consumption of processed foods. Among vegetarians, a higher proportion of vegans showed positive results regarding diet markers analysis, when compared to vegetarians, pesco-vegetarians, and semi-vegetarians.
CONCLUSIONS: Vegetarians showed better results of diet adequacy when compared to the general population in Brazil, and vegans fared better when compared with other vegetarians. Despite the good results found, a large proportion of the participants still did not achieve the fruits and vegetables daily intake, according to the World Health Organization recommendations.

PMID: 32396556 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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