Not All Protein Created Equal

Plant protein intake tied to lower mortality rate

(RxWiki News) Eating more plant protein and less animal protein may lower your risk of dying, a new study found.

This new study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, looked at around 30 years' worth of data from two large past studies and found that a high intake of protein from animal sources was tied to a higher risk of death. A higher intake of plant protein — the kind found in beans, nuts, seeds and similar plant sources — was tied to a longer life.

The increased mortality risk tied to higher animal protein intake was slight and only present when accompanied by a lifestyle risk factor like smoking, inactivity or obesity, the Massachusetts General Hospital researchers behind the current research noted. Mortality risk was greatest in those who ate more red meat, eggs, and high­-fat dairy products.

"Our findings suggest that people should consider eating more plant proteins than animal proteins, and when they do choose among sources of animal protein, fish and chicken are probably better choices," noted lead researcher Dr. Mingyang Song.

Because some modern diet advice suggests replacing carbohydrates with protein, plenty of past research has looked at the health effects of higher protein intake. But, according to these researchers, the current study is among the first to examine the specific sources of protein and their health effects.

Talk to your doctor about how to find the right nutritional balance for your health.

Grants from the National Institutes of Health funded this research. The authors disclosed no conflicts of interest.