Plant-based diet correlated with a longer life?

THE STATESMAN/ANN – If you want to live a healthier, longer life, read on. Research has found that diets that are higher in protein are associated with a lower risk of dying from any causes.

Diets high in protein, particularly protein from plants such as legumes (peas, beans, and lentils), whole grains, and nuts, have been linked to lower the risks of developing diabetes, heart diseases, and strokes.

According to a study published in The BMJ, regular consumption of red meat and high intake of animal protein is linked to many serious health problems.

However, the data on the association between different types of proteins and death are conflicting and not clear.

Researchers based in Iran and the United States (US) are set out to experiment with the potential dose-response relation between the intake of animal and plant protein and how it correlates the risk of underlying diseases like cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

They reviewed the results of 32 studies that reported the risk estimates for all-cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality in adults aged 19 or older.

All studies were thoroughly assessed for bias (problems in study design that can influence results).

Mathematical models were then used to compare the effects of the highest versus lowest categories of protein intake, and analyses were done to evaluate the dose-response relations between protein intake and mortality.

During a follow-up period of up to 32 years, 113,039 deaths (16,429 from cardiovascular disease and 22,303 from cancer) occurred among 715,128 participants.

The results show that a high intake of total protein was associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality compared with low intake.

Intake of plant protein was associated with an eight per cent lower risk of all-cause mortality and a 12 per cent lower risk of cardiovascular disease mortality.

Intake of animal protein was not significantly associated with the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer mortality, the study said.

A dose-response analysis of data from 31 studies also showed that an additional three per cent of energy from plant proteins a day was associated with a five per cent lower risk of death from all causes.

“These findings have important public health implications as intake of plant protein can be increased relatively easily by replacing animal protein and could have a large effect on longevity,” the researchers said.

“While further studies are required, these findings strongly support the existing dietary recommendations to increase consumption of plant proteins in the general population.”