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Study shows red meat lowers mortality rate

Photo: Plant proteins reduce mortality: study
A US study has found a strong association between eating more plant proteins and lower mortality, suggesting a need to reduce meat intake.

A new medical study has added weight to evidence supporting a need to restrict the amount of animal proteins, particularly red meat, we eat.

People who got more of their protein from plants rather than from animals were less likely to die prematurely, according to a 30-year study conducted in the US and published in journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston analysed the eating habits of more than 130,000 participants over a 32-year period.

After adjusting their findings to account for lifestyle and dietary risk factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption and physical inactivity, they found for every 10 per cent incremental increase in calories consumed from animal proteins the risk of dying prematurely from all causes increased by two per cent.
The risk of dying from cardiovascular disease was even higher at eight per cent.

In contrast, eating more plant proteins reduced the risk of premature death by up to 12 per cent for every three per cent increase in consumption.

This association between eating more plant protein and lower mortality was stronger among study participants who smoked, drank at least 14 grams of alcohol per day, were overweight or obese, were physically inactive or were younger than 65 or older than 80, the authors noted.

The study seems to support previous research that has found substituting red meat with a plant protein may have substantial health benefits.

A study, published in journal American Society of Nephrology last month, found reducing protein intake from red meat significantly reduced the risk of kidney failure.

Given the possible health benefits of substituting animal protein, public health recommendations should focus on where people get their protein from, the authors of the latest study suggest.

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