Protein for cooking

Choose your protein

Is meat a good source of protein but bad for your health?

Everyone wants to eat a healthy diet, well everyone who is reading a news column like this, anyway. So given that we all want to eat healthily the eternal question becomes, “what is a healthy diet?” A partial answer to this question has come from a new study which set out to examine what sort of protein is best for you.

Every 10 per cent increase in animal protein consumption as a proportion of total kilojoules was linked to a two per cent higher risk of death.

The study included researchers from Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital who used data from two large United States studies that went over 32 years and included 131,000 subjects. The researchers correlated risk of death with eating animal protein versus vegetable protein.

The results showed that every 10 per cent increase in animal protein consumption as a proportion of total kilojoules was linked to a two per cent higher risk of death from all causes and an eight per cent increase in cardiovascular death risk.

By contrast, every three per cent increase in plant protein as a proportion of all kilojoules was associated with a 10 per cent lower risk of death from all causes and a 12 per cent lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

It needs to be said too, that although the findings were regarding all animal protein when broken down red meat, and especially processed red meat that was associated with the negative effects. Fish and poultry were actually not associated with mortality.

In the end though, to paraphrase Michael Pollan’s insightful aphorism, if you eat mostly plants then you won’t go too far wrong.

Source: JAMA Internal Medicine

Terry Robson

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.

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