A high intake of protein from meat (including processed meat and poultry) is associated with an increased risk of dying prematurely from cardiovascular disease, regardless of the fat content and other nutrients of the meat, according to a large observational study of Seventh-Day Adventists in the International Journal of Epidemiology in 2018.
In contrast, a high intake of protein from nuts and seeds was linked to a markedly reduced cardiovascular death rate over the nine-year period. Protein from grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables was not associated with changes in mortality rate. The amino acid composition of various protein sources may have different physiological effects, the researchers suggested (amino acids are the building blocks of protein).
Seventh-DayAdventists have been studied for decades to evaluate which aspects of their healthy lifestyle are most responsible for their relatively long average life expectancy. They tend to have healthy plant-based diets and eat lots of nuts, nut butters, seeds, and beans, in particular.
"While dietary fats are part of the story in affecting risk of cardiovascular disease, proteins may also have important and largely overlooked independent effects on risk," co-author Dr. Gary Fraser, of Loma Linda University, said in a statement.
This article first appeared in the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter.
Also see How Much Protein Do You Need?