• Meat abstention, heamoglobin levels and tiredness in a university population

      Fallows, Stephen; Pugh, Isobel (University of Chester, 2006-09-30)
      Rationale: Tiredness is related to reduced quality of life and productivity. Iron Deficiency Anaemia (IDA) causes tiredness, and is the leading nutritional deficiency in the developed world. Numerous studies have compared iron status of vegetarians to omnivores; however, few studies have examined other patterns of meat consumption. This study compares three female populations: those that eat white meat>2x/wk but consume beef, lamb and their products 2x/wk (Red Meat Eaters, or RME), and vegetarians (VEG). Methods: 50 RMA, 47 VEG and 47 RME were compared. Capillary haemoglobin (Hb) levels were monitored using a Reflotron haemoglobin analyser and compared for significant differences using oneway ANOVA. Participants were also asked to recall if they felt tired at certain times of day, hours sleep needed per night, and difficulty sleeping per week, by questionnaire. Frequency of regular daily episodes of tiredness was compared to Kahneman and Krueger's Day Reconstruction Method (DRM). Non-parametric data was analysed using Kruskal-Wallis and Mann-Whitney U tests. Testing for correlation between frequency of tiredness and Hb levels was conducted using Spearman's Rho. Results: Mean Hb was 13.7g/dl for VEG, 13.6g/dl for RME and 13.2g/dl for RMA: this result was non-significant (p = 0.140; p>0.05). Difficulty sleeping and hours' sleep needed were similar between groups (/7-0.969 and p=0.549 respectively; p>0.05). There was no significant correlation between Hb and number of reported incidences of tiredness (r=0.023; ;p=0.830; p>0.05); however, variability in healthy Hb levels may have confounded these results, and reduced the ability of the study to detect significant effects. Conversely, 7 RMA, 4 RME and 3 VEG fell below one recognised Hb cut off point for IDA (12g/dl); further, 4 RMA were the only individuals to fall below the second recognised cut off point of llg/dl. VEG also reported significantly less episodes of tiredness per day than RMA (p=0.0l6; p<0.05). An interesting finding was the large population of RMA within the university. Conclusion: This study has important implications for individuals interested in improving their quality of life, and institutions and organisations interested in improving productivity.