A recent study led by Harvard University researchers found that people who got their protein from plant sources had the lowest risk of dying.
It is widely known that a diet of lean proteins is healthier than one laden with red meat, eggs and dairy products.
This was supported by a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Researchers, including those from Harvard University who led the study observed the diets of over 130,000 people across three decades. The study then drew links between the types of food consumed and risk of death.
Participants who mostly got their protein from plant sources – such as beans, nuts, legumes, bread, cereal and pasta – had the lowest mortality rate.
“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,” quipped co-author Mingyang Song, a research fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital.
“While previous studies have primarily focused on the overall amount of protein intake – which is important – from a broad dietary perspective, the particular foods that people consume to get protein are equally important,” he added.
Surprisingly, participants who ate a lot of processed and unprocessed red meat, eggs and cheese did not have a higher risk of death, provided they were healthy.
Their mortality risk increases only when they have other risk factors, such as obesity, a sedentary lifestyle or excessive consumption of alcohol, Japan Today reported.
Mr Ian Johnson, a doctor and nutrition researcher at the Institute of Food Research acknowledged that the study was “robust” and in support of a “growing consensus” that plant proteins were better for long-term health.
However, Mr Johnson, who was not associated with the study added: “It is far from clear whether plant proteins are protective or animal proteins are detrimental to health, or whether these protein levels are simply markers for something else.”
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