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NMU 126 – Plant protein vs Red meat lowers CVD risk

Nutrition / Natural Medicine Update No 126 (April 11, 2019)

with Dr. James Meschino


Topic: Replacing Red Meat with Plant Proteins Decrease Cardiovascular Risk Factors

Source: Journal – Circulation (April 2019)


A study in the April 2019 issue in the journal Circulation showed that diets that replaced red meat with healthy plant proteins led to decreases in risk factors for heart and cardiovascular disease (CVD). The study included data from 36 randomized controlled trials involving 1,803 participants. The researchers compared people who ate diets with red meat with people who ate more of other types of foods (i.e. chicken, fish, carbohydrates, or plant proteins such as legumes, soy, or nuts), looking at blood concentrations of cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

The main finding was that diets higher in high-quality plant protein sources such as legumes, soy, and nuts resulted in lower levels of both total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol compared to diets high in red meat. This makes sense as the saturated fats in red meat are known to turn-on cholesterol production in the body, raising especially the bad cholesterol (LDL) that clogs arteries. These fats also increase the stickiness of your blood, which also increases CVD risk. The results are consistent with other long-term (epidemiologic) studies showing lower risks of heart attacks when nuts and other plant sources of protein are compared to red meat, one of the researchers noted.

Interestingly, the authors recommended adherence to healthy vegetarian and Mediterranean-style diets, both for their health benefits and to promote environmental sustainability.

I’ve included the article reference in the text below.


Marta Guasch-Ferré, Ambika Satija, Stacy A. Blondin, Marie Janiszewski, Ester Emlen, Lauren E. O’Connor, Wayne W. Campbell, Frank B. Hu, Walter C. Willett, Meir J. Stampfer. A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials of Red Meat Consumption in Comparison With Various Comparison Diets on Cardiovascular Risk FactorsCirculation, 2019; 139 (15): 1828. 10.1161/CIRCULATIOApNAHA.118.035225


Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great


Dr. Meschino

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