Vegetable protein and dairy products instead of red meat
Vegetable protein from such protein sources or dairy products while reducing the consumption of red meat could help people live longer. This emerges from two preliminary studies presented by researchers in the American Heart Association's epidemiology and prevention. The presentation took place at scientific sessions on lifestyle and cardiometabolic health.
Vegetable protein against meat consumption
The study was with over 37,000 participants with an average age of 50 years. So of those who ate vegetable protein often, 27% less likely to die from any cause and 29% less from coronary heart disease. This was compared to people who ate the least vegetable protein.
While maintaining the number of calories that participants consumed, the researchers were able to estimate the amount of vegetable protein compared to the animal protein consumed in the study. They found the following:
- Replacing 5% of daily calories from total animal protein with the equivalent number of calories from vegetable protein has been associated with a nearly 50% reduction in the risk of death for any reason, including coronary artery disease.
- They were able to combine the 2% of daily consumption of processed meat protein with a 32% lower risk.
However, avoiding just red meat is not enough. It's more about what you eat instead of red meat. Healthy vegetable proteins such as nuts, legumes and whole grains contain more than just protein. They also contain other useful nutrients. These would be, for example, healthy fats, antioxidant vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals (plant compounds). The latter are associated with a lower risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and some cancers. The lead study author Zhilei Shan said. He is a postdoctoral fellow in the nutrition department at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in Boston.
The strengths of the study include the representative sample and the collection of data over a longer period. However, the researchers only evaluated the nutritional information at the beginning of the study. The results therefore do not take into account the diet changes made later. Replacing one serving of red or processed red meat a day with the foods listed above was associated with an up to 47% lower risk of coronary heart disease in men.
In addition, replacing a daily serving of red meats with an equivalent amount of nuts without increasing the number of calories was associated with a 17% lower risk of heart attack. Replacing a serving of red meat with whole grains resulted in a 48% lower risk for men.
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