Low plasma level of high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-c) was an independent risk factor for cardio vascular disorder, and associated with poor outcomes in pulmonary arterial hypertension. To compare the effects of vegetarian diets and omnivorous diets on HDL-c in plasma, we identified cross-sectional and cohort studies related to HDL-c listed on PubMed and ISI Web of Knowledge as well as the corresponding references (until Nov, 2013). Twelve studies with a total of 4177 individuals were selected for meta-analysis. This meta-analysis indicates that vegetarian diets did not alter plasma HDL-c concentrations, as it wasn't initially expected by the authors [Standardized Mean Difference (SMD) = 0.02 mmol/l; 95% confidence interval (CI): -0.19 to 0.22 mmol/l]. In Asia and Latin America countries, no significant differences in HDL-c levels between vegetarians and omnivores were found (SMD = -0.09 mmol/l; 95% CI: -0.43 to 0.25 mmol/l). In Europe and North America countries, the plasma level of HDL-c was also not different between the two diets (SMD = 0.09 mmol/l; 95% CI: -0.19 to 0.36 mmol/l). In light of this meta-analysis, we conclude that there is no evidence that plasma HDL-c levels differs in vegetarians and omnivores, even after adjusting for cultural circumstances.