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Plant Protein Consumption Tied to Lower Risk for Death

TUESDAY, March 9, 2021 -- Higher plant protein intake and substitution of animal protein with plant protein are associated with a lower risk for all-cause, cardiovascular disease, and dementia mortality in women, according to a study published online Feb. 24 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Yangbo Sun, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, and colleagues analyzed data from the Women's Health Initiative (1993 to 1998 with follow-up through February 2017) to assess the relationship between plant protein consumption and all-cause mortality.

The researchers found that the highest quintile of plant protein intake was inversely associated with all-cause mortality (hazard ratio [HR], 0.91), cardiovascular disease mortality (HR, 0.88), and dementia mortality (HR, 0.79) compared with the lowest quintile. Processed red meat (HR, 1.06) and egg (HR, 1.14) consumption were associated with a higher risk for all-cause mortality, while unprocessed red meat (HR, 1.12), eggs (HR, 1.24), and dairy products (HR, 1.11) were associated with a higher risk for cardiovascular disease mortality. For dementia mortality, processed red meat consumption was associated with a higher risk (HR, 1.20), while consumption of poultry (HR, 0.85) and eggs (HR, 0.86) was associated with a lower risk. Substituting animal protein with plant protein was associated with a lower risk for all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease mortality, and dementia mortality.

"Our findings support the need for consideration of protein sources in future dietary guidelines," the authors write.

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