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Higher Intake of Plant Protein Compared to Animal Protein Associated with Lower Mortality

, by DCEG Staff

Image of 5 different panels of protein sources: almonds, pasta, chicken, pork, and eggs

Greater consumption of plant protein as opposed to animal protein is associated with lower overall and cardiovascular disease mortality, according to findings published July 13, 2020, in JAMA Internal Medicine.

While there has been a recent emphasis on the benefits of high protein diets on weight maintenance and overall health, there have not been many studies on the relationship between plant versus animal protein intake and mortality. Postdoctoral fellow Jiaqi Huang, Ph.D., and senior investigator Demetrius Albanes, M.D., in the Metabolic Epidemiology Branch, and collaborators, analyzed the dietary intake of over 400,000 participants from the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study and found that greater intake of plant protein rather than animal protein was associated with lower overall and cardiovascular disease mortality. Furthermore, they reported that participants who replaced three percent of dietary energy intake from animal protein with an equal amount of plant protein were ten percent less likely to die from any cause over the 16-year follow up.

These findings provide evidence that dietary modification of protein sources may impact overall health and warrant further study, particularly among diverse study populations.


Huang J et al. Association Between Plant and Animal Protein Intake and Overall and Cause-Specific MortalityJAMA Intern Med. July 13, 2020. DOI:10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.2790 [Epub ahead of print]

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