AIIMS-SKIMS Study- Women On Non-Vegetarian Diets Less Prone To Disease

Women and Non-Veg Diet
Image used for representation only

We have all heard of the enormous benefits of adhering to a vegetarian diet, however, this recent survey by AIIMS And SKIMS points to an imminent need to relook facts on dietary advantages…

A joint study by doctors at AIIMS, Delhi, and Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) on dietary habits of women stated that People who consume non-vegetarian meals are less likely to catch diseases like diabetes, cardiac ailments, cancer and obesity, as compared to those who take a vegetarian diet.

The survey was conducted on women between the ages of 18 and 40 years and was funded by the Department of Bio-Technology (DBT), Government of India.

A total of 464 women enrolled in Delhi and Kashmir between 2015 and 2018. Women who consumed meat (203) were selected from Kashmir, while those who were vegetarian (261) were from Delhi. This included women who were healthy as well as those suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).

Out of the total women, 144 were suffering from PCOS while the rest were healthy. They were divided on the bases of their dietary preferences — vegetarian and non-vegetarian.

Results show that women from Kashmir who consumed up to five non-vegetarian meals a week were found to be at a lesser risk of these diseases irrespective of whether they were suffering from PCOS or were healthy, in comparison to women in Delhi who followed a vegetarian diet.

They were examined on the basis of their menstrual history, drug intake, 72-hour dietary recall, blood pressure, height, weight, lipid profile, liver function, kidney function and inflammatory marker (hs-CRP, TNF-a, IL-6, resistin, adiponectin).

Dr Ashraf Ganie, Professor of Endocrinology and Metabolism at SKIMS, who led the study at AIIMS, Delhi says, “ It is a well- known fact that a Mediterranean diet has a low risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and obesity.

We thought that an Indian vegetarian diet would be equally healthy, but in this study, the results were contrary.

We checked the inflammatory markers and insulin resistance in both categories and found that the parameters were better in women from Kashmir who consumed non-vegetarian food.”

Researchers are also exploring if the genetic and pollution patterns in both states have any role to play. “Insulin resistance is a common link between these diseases. We will further study if the diets have some components which are pro-inflammatory. Other factors such as pollution levels and genetic drift will be considered in the second phase of our study,” Dr Ganie added.

Pune dietician Kavita speaking to Pune365 remarked, “Non-vegetarian diets have grade 1 protein while vegetarian diets have grade 2 protein. Proteins help you keep full for a longer period of time and it is also a good source of vitamin B. While deficiency of Vitamin B is common among the vegetarians. Along with the lack of protein, there is also a lack of zinc and iron.

Kavita further shares, Some of the common issues seen in people who are vegetarians are pain in joints, longer healing time for wounds, trouble gaining or losing weight, changes in blood sugar levels which may result in diabetes.

Adequate intake of protein is never bad for health. Eating non-vegetarian constantly also has detrimental effects but lower in comparison to vegetarian only diets.

I would recommend a balanced diet with four days non-vegetarian and 3 days vegetarian  which can help avoid health problems.

However, if you’re completely dependent on non-vegetarian food, ensure that you consume a good amount of water and vegetables also every day. Relying completely on vegetarian food for all your dietary requirements is also not recommended, Kavita added.

Pallavi Agarwal, a Content Marketer, says “I completely agree to the findings of the study. The amount of nutrients you get from non-vegetarian diets is high and there is no replacement for it.

My mother had a hip surgery a year back and she had turned vegetarian then. Though medical dietary supplements were given, the doctor suggested that she eat non-vegetarian food. She strictly denied doing so and her recovery was initially slow.  

After a lot of persuasion, we finally convinced her to at least eat eggs and fish and the recovery got much faster than before.

Not only that, her complaints of Knee pain, neck pain and back pain has also reduced, Pallavi added.

Disagreeing with this, Rahul Mishra, a marketing executive says. “Non-Vegetarians also have many health hazards, People on non-vegetarian diets tend to have a shorter life span says Rahul Mishra, a Marketing executive.

My entire family are vegetarians and everyone is leading a healthy lifestyle. My grandfather is 98 years old without any deficiency. I agree that he is dependent on supplements for vitamins which may develop some kidney issues, but, consuming non-vegetarian can also lead to kidney issues.

Vegetarian only diets are not ideally suggested but the key to good health is possibly a balanced diet which consists of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian in the right proportions, Mishra added


#All views reflected in this article are those of the respondents and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to them.

Ankita Malekar

Ankita Malekar

A talkative tiny speck in the world of Media, with an itch for travel and paws.
Ankita Malekar