Health Benefits of Trading Animal Protein for Plant Protein

Substituting one to two servings of animal proteins with plant proteins every day could lead to a small reduction in the three main cholesterol markers for cardiovascular disease prevention, a new study suggests.

The health benefits could be even greater if people combined plant proteins with other cholesterol-lowering foods such as viscous, water soluble fibres from oats, barley and psyllium, and plant sterols, said lead author Dr. John Sievenpiper of St. Michael’s Hospital.

Dr. Sievenpiper led a systematic review and meta-analysis of 112 randomized control trials in which people substituted plant proteins for some animal proteins in their diets for at least three weeks. The results were published online in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Dr. Sievenpiper said the review indicated that replacing one to two servings of animal proteins with plant proteins every day — primarily soy, nuts and pulses (dried peas and beans, lentils and chickpeas) — could reduce the main cholesterol markers by about 5 per cent.

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