A newly published article in JAMA Internal Medicine has investigated the relationship between (animal vs. plant) protein sources and mortality risk from almost 30 years of follow-up from the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study, which together included over 170,000 participants.
Interesting findings came out of one particular question the researchers asked: What would happen if the participants replaced some of their animal protein with plant protein?
They analyzed the data to estimate how participants’ risk of death from all causes over the follow-up period would change if some of the animal protein sources (equivalent to 3 percent of total daily calories) were replaced with plant protein sources:
What’s wrong with animal protein sources?
This is the latest of many studies to link greater meat consumption to a greater risk of death.13-15 In contrast, plant protein sources are associated with better health: for example, seeds and nuts reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and are linked to longevity, and micronutrient and fiber-rich beans are linked to improved blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, body weight, insulin sensitivity and enhanced lifespan.16-20