People who eat more protein from plants and reduce the intake of animal protein can live longer, even when they do unhealthy habits such as drinking alcohol or smoking, according to a large study in the US.
The findings suggest that when talking about the benefits of protein, from which the protein is derived at least as important as how much protein diasup, said study lead author Dr. Mingyang Song, a researcher at Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
"Plants are a source of protein that is better than the animal," Song said via email.
"If people have to choose between animal products, try to avoid red meats and choose fish or chicken instead," added Song.
Song and fellow researchers enrolled more than 130,000 nurses and health professionals in a study for decades.
Half of the participants received 14 percent of calories from animal protein and at least 4 percent of vegetable protein. At the beginning of the study, the average participant age of 49 years and most are women.
At the end of the study, about 36,000 people died, about 8,850 people have cardiovascular disease, and about 13,000 diagnosed with cancer.
After memerhitungkan lifestyle factors such as smoking, drinking, obesity and lack of physical activity, every increase of 3 per cent of calorie intake of vegetable protein associated with reduced risk of death by 10 percent during the study period.
Instead, each increase of 10 percent of calories from animal protein intake was associated with a 2 percent higher risk of death from any cause and 8 percent increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease over the study period.
Relationship between animal protein and risk of death applies to all respondents, but it is stronger for people who consume alcohol daily and obesity, researchers report in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
"Individuals who are obese, as well as individuals with a choice of an unhealthy lifestyle are more likely to have a metabolic disorder or an inflammatory disorder may increase due to side effects of a high intake of animal protein," said Dr. Pagona Lagiou, a nutrition researcher at the University of Athens who was not involved in the research.
Even so, Because the study was observational, so it can not prove that certain types of proteins will directly affect how long they live, the authors note.
Real risk of the death of the animal protein also appears also associated with processed meat, said Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy in Boston.
"Based on the overwhelming evidence, it is important to eat a variety of healthy foods plant-based variants, such as fruits, nuts, grains, nuts, non-starchy vegetables," added Mozaffarian.
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