Washington: Turns out, meat protein is unhealthy, but protein from nuts and seeds is heart smart.
According to a study conducted by Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center, meat protein is associated with a sharply increased risk of heart disease while protein from nuts and seeds is beneficial for the human heart.
The study found that people who consumed large amounts of meat protein experienced a 60-percent increase in cardiovascular disease (CVD), while people who consumed large amounts of protein from nuts and seeds experienced a 40-percent reduction in CVD.
The study, which included data from more than 81,000 participants, is one of the few times detailed sources of animal protein have been examined jointly with animal fat in a major investigation.
“While dietary fats are part of the story in affecting the risk of cardiovascular disease, proteins may also have important and largely overlooked independent effects on risk”, said Gary Fraser, co-principal investigator. He added that he and his colleagues have long suspected that including nuts and seeds in the diet protects against heart and vascular disease, while red meats increase risk.
Fraser added that nutritionists have traditionally looked toward what he termed ‘bad fats’ in meats and ‘helpful fats’ in nuts and seeds as causal agents.
However, these new findings suggest more. “This new evidence suggests that the full picture probably also involves the biological effects of proteins in these foods,” he said.
Fraser said the team’s research differed in another significant way from previous investigations. While prior studies have examined differences between animal and plant proteins, this study did not stop at just two categories but chose to specify meat protein and proteins from nuts and seeds along with other major dietary sources.
“This research is suggesting there is more heterogeneity than just the binary categorization of plant protein or animal protein,” Fraser said.
This study appears in the International Journal of Epidemiology. (ANI)