Two new studies show replacing red meat with plant protein cuts risk of mortality by almost 50%

As many of you know, there has been more and more research to determine the benefits of reducing or eliminating animal protein and replacing it with plant-based protein; these new studies provided shocking results!

How were the studies conducted and what were the results?

The first study as conducted by Dr. Shan, at the Harvard T.H. Chad School of Public Health. The study tracked more than 37,000 Americans with an average age of 50. They found, for those who ate the most plant protein they were 27% less likely to die of any cause and 29% less likely to die of coronary heart disease when compared to those who ate the least amount of plant protein. Dr. Shan, added to their findings, saying, “it isn’t enough just to avoid red meat – it’s also about what you choose to eat in place of red meat.”

Specifically, those who ate nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains increase the health benefits of eating plant-base protein because plants provide more than just protein. Plants provide healthy fats, vitamins, antioxidant phytochemicals; all of which have long been thought to lower the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease, even some cancers.

One of the most shocking findings Dr. Hu, co-author of the study, stated was, “based on statistical modeling, if you replace 5% of animal protein with plant protein, that was associated with almost 50% lower risk of mortality.” Dr. Hu, went on to say, “that’s very large – it means that you have to replace more than one third of your animal protein with plant protein to get a huge benefit.”

“Based on statistical modeling, if you replace 5% of animal protein with plant protein, that was associated with almost 50% lower risk of mortality.”

Dr. Hu, Department of Nutrition at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health

The second study focused on 43,259 male participants in Harvard’s Health Professionals follow-up study. This study found that replacing one daily serving of red or processed meat with plant-based foods like nuts, whole grains and other high protein plant sources, lowers the risk of having coronary heart disease by 47%; nearly cutting your risk in half!

According to Dr. Al-Shaar, lead author of this study, “on average, Americans eat approximately 3.5 servings of red meat each week, and about one-third have red meat daily. Our findings suggest that even a partial replacement of red meat with healthy, plant-based sources of protein could substantially reduce the rate of coronary heart disease in the United States.”

Clearly, these studies, along with many others being conducted by some of the best scientists in the U.S., are reaching the same conclusion, that eating red meat and/or processed meat dramatically increases the risk of heart disease. In 2015 the World Health Organization (WHO) released their findings; that there is enough evidence to classify processed meat as “carcinogenic to humans.” The WHO also classified red meat as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” These findings were also supported by the UK’s National Health Service, the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association.

“… there is enough evidence to classify processed meat as carcinogenic to humans; and, classify red meat as probably carcinogenic to humans.”

World Health Organization (2015)

Here are the best sources of plant-based protein:

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