Consuming plant protein over animal protein could lengthen life span: BMJ
Delhi: Replacing protein-rich animal foods with plant protein sources could lengthen life expectancy, suggests a recent study in the journal BMJ.
According to the study, a higher intake of total protein lowers the risk of all-cause mortality, and eating plant-based protein was associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular and all-cause mortality.
Diet has an important role to play in cancer and cardiovascular diseases -- two leading causes of death, contributing to 26.9 million deaths worldwide in 2016. Findings on the association between total protein intake and longevity are still controversial. So, to fill this knowledge gap, Sina Naghshi, a masters student of nutrition, Students' Scientific Research Center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran, and colleagues examined and quantified the potential dose-response relation between intake of total, animal, and plant protein and the risk of mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
For the purpose, they conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies that reported the risk estimates for all cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality in adults aged 18 or older. In total, 32 prospective cohort studies were included in the systematic review and 31 in the meta-analysis.
Key findings of the study include:
- During the follow-up period of 3.5 to 32 years, 113 039 deaths (16 429 from cardiovascular disease and 22 303 from cancer) occurred among 715 128 participants.
- Intake of total protein was associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality.
- Intake of plant protein was significantly associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease mortality (pooled hazard ratio 0.88), but not with cancer mortality.
- Intake of total and animal protein was not significantly associated with risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer mortality.
- Dose-response analysis showed a significant inverse dose-response association between intake of plant protein and all-cause mortality.
- An additional 3% energy from plant proteins a day was associated with a 5% lower risk of death from all causes.
"Our findings strongly support the existing dietary recommendations to increase consumption of plant proteins in the general population," wrote the authors.
The study, "Dietary intake of total, animal, and plant proteins and risk of all cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality: systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies," is published in the journal BMJ.