Researchers in the United States (U.S.) have said that getting daily protein from plants instead of animals appears to reduce overall risk of early death. Their report was published online in ‘JAMA Internal Medicine.’
The results of the study showed that every three per cent of a person’s daily energy intake coming from plant protein instead of animal protein reduced the person’s risk of premature death by 10 per cent. According to the lead researcher Jiaqi Huang, a postdoctoral fellow at the U.S. National Cancer Insti-tute, taking red meat out of one’s diet could be beneficial, but only if it was swapped for a healthy substitute.
“For example, replacement of three per cent energy from egg protein or red meat protein with plant protein such as whole grains or cereals resulted in a protective association for overall mortality,” Huang said.
“On the other hand, replacement of three per cent energy from egg protein or red meat protein with other foods such as sugar- sweetened beverages may or may not result in a reduction in mortality.” Sources of plant proteins included tofu, also known as bean curd, prepared from coagulating soya milk, lentils, which were edible legumes, chickpeas, most varieties of beans, nutritional yeast, green peas, among others.
For this study, the research team analysed dietary data from more than 237,000 men and 179,000 women gathered between 1995 and 2011 as part of a long-term study on eating patterns and health. Protein made up about 15 per cent of people’s daily diet, with 40 per cent coming from plants and 60 per cent from animals, the researchers found. During the 16 years of follow-up, a pattern emerged where plant protein intake appeared to reduce risk of early death. Every 10 grammes of plant-foranimal protein swapping per 1,000 calories resulted in a 12 per cent lower risk of death for men and 14 per cent for women, the findings showed. Senior researcher, Dr. Demetrius Albanes, a senior investigator with the cancer institute said: “Our data provide evidence to support the favourable role for plant-based diets in the prevention of cardiovascular disease mortality, and that modifications in choices of protein sources may influence health outcomes and longevity.”
The ‘Newsmax’ reported that meat protein tended to come with higher levels of saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium and other nutrients that aren’t very good for health. On the other hand, plant proteins come with loads of fibre, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.