Research Reports Replacing Red Meat in your Diet with Plant Protein reduces Cardiovascular Risk.

A new study published in the journal Circulation concluded that replacing red meat with healthy plant protein in your diet led to decreases in risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The researchers said “Previous findings from randomized controlled trials evaluating the effects of red meat on cardiovascular risk factors have been inconsistent. But our new study, which makes specific comparisons between diets high in red meat versus diets in other types of foods, shows that substituting red meat with high-quality protein sources leads to more favorable changes in cardiovascular risk factors.”

Data for this first mega, randomized controlled trial included data from 36 randomized controlled trials involving 1,803 subjects. Groups were compared between those who ate red meat and those who ate more of other types of foods such as chicken, fish, carbohydrates, or plant protein including legumes, soy, or nuts and looked at blood concentrations of cholesterol, triglycerides, lipoproteins, and blood pressure–all risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The study found that when diets with red meat were compared with all other types of diets combined, there were no significant differences in total cholesterol, lipoproteins, or blood pressure, but diets higher in red meat did lead to higher tryglyceride concentrations. However, when researchers compared diets higher in high-quality plant protein sources (legumes,. soy, nuts ) with red meat, there were lower levels of both total and LDL (bad) cholesterol in the group eating high-quality plant protein. These results are consistent  with long term epidemiological studies that show a lower risk of heart attacks when groups eating nuts and other plant source proteins are compared with those eating red meat. The researchers believe the inconsistencies in previous studies may have resulted from the types of comparison diets compared with red meat  and suggest further research focus on specific types of protein. Researchers said “Is red meat good or bad?” is not a good question. Studies need to look at comparisons of red meat to something else. They say if you replace burgers with cookies or fries, you dont get healthier. But replacing red meat with healthy plant protein sources is beneficial in terms of reducing cardiovascular risk factors.

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