Replace Red Meat with Plant Protein to Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease — A New Study Confirms

A recent study shows that replacing red meat with plant-based protein can help in lowering your risk of heart disease, thus improving heart health, according to a new study recently published. The researchers made it clear that reduced intakes of saturated fat and cholesterol (found in red meats) while increasing the intake of fiber and antioxidants (found in plant-based protein) is a good mechanism behind the improvement of your heart health.

In recent years, many studies have linked the relationship between eating red meat to developing cardiovascular disease. But there has not been well-proven research to make the study really truthful. The research was carried out by scientists at Purdue University and Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health, with a meta-analysis. While other researchers have carried out several types of research on the impact of red meat of heart health, they never included a meta-analysis — making the researchers from Purdue University and Harvard School of Public Health the first to use a meta-analysis.

The new analysis focused on the health effects of diets high in red meat and diets high in other types of food. With this, they were able to come up with a new fact that, while there had been controversies on the best food product to substitute for red meats, plant-based protein is just the best to put in place of red meats.

They analyzed the data from 36 randomized controlled trials involving 1,800 people, to learn how different diets could affect cardiovascular disease risk factors such as high levels of cholesterol, lipoprotein, blood pressure, and triglycerides. Having compared these diets, they later concluded that there was no noteworthy difference in the amount of cholesterol, lipoprotein, and blood pressure. But the problem fell on the bigger difference they examined in the number of triglycerides.

Why only higher levels of triglycerides? The reason is not far-fetched. But before answering that question, we have to examine the meaning of triglycerides. Triglycerides are a type of fat present in the blood. Researchers made it clear that increased levels of this fat can pose a threat to your heart health and can even cause death.

The researchers said that when a higher amount of plant-based proteins (such as nuts, soy, and legumes) are consumed, cardiovascular disease risk factors such as LDL (bad) cholesterol levels are lower than in red meat.

Speaking on previous researches carried out, lead author of the study and a research scientist in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health, Marta Guasch-Ferre said: “Previous findings from randomized controlled trials evaluating the effects of red meat on cardiovascular disease risk factors have been inconsistent.”
“But, our new study, which makes specific comparisons between diets high in red meat versus diets high in other types of foods, shows that substituting red meat with high-quality protein sources lead to more favorable changes in cardiovascular risk factors.”

The senior author of the study and a professor of epidemiology and Nutrition at Harvard T.H Chan, Meir Stampfer, explained: “Asking ‘Is red meat good or bad?’ is useless. It has to be ‘compared to what?’ If you replace burgers with cookies and fries, you don’t get healthier. But if you replace red meat with healthy plant protein, like nuts, soy, and legumes, you get a health benefit.”

In a recent survey, it is believed that the Americans are desiring to cut down their consumption of red meats in the future because of the awareness they have got on the association red meat has with their environmental and nutritional health.

The authors, therefore, advise that individuals should follow diets that provide absolutely high-quality plant-based proteins. 

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