Following a plant-based diet may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, according to a new study published by the Journal of Nutrition.
Titled Isocaloric substitution of plant-based protein for animal-based protein and cardiometabolic risk factors in a multi-ethnic Asian Population, the study was conducted by researchers at the National University of Singapore, Curtin University in Australia, The University of Newcastle and George Washington University in Washington D.C.
“Evidence is accumulating that intake of animal- and plant-based protein have different effects on cardio-metabolic health, but less is known about the health effect of isocaloric substitution of animal- and plant-based protein”, states the study. The aims of the study were:
1) to evaluate the effects of isocaloric substitution of total plant-based protein for total and various animal-based protein food groups;
2) to evaluate the effects of substituting protein from legumes and pulses for various animal-based protein food groups on CVD risk factors and predicted 10-year CVD risk.
Researchers conducted a cross-sectional analysis using data collected from 9,211 Singapore residents (aged 21-75 years) from the Singapore Multi-Ethnic Cohort. Data on sociodemographic and lifestyle factors were collected via questionnaires. Dietary intakes were assessed using a validated Food Frequency Questionnaire. Body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, and blood pressure were measured during a physical examination, and blood was collected to measure lipid profiles. Associations were assessed by substitution models with the use of multiple linear regression analysis.
“Isocaloric substitution of total plant-based protein for total and all specific animal-based protein food groups were associated with lower BMI [β(95%CI)= -0.30 (-0.38,-0.22)], waist circumference [β(95%CI)= -0.85 (-1.04,-0.66)], and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels [β(95%CI)= -0.06 (-0.08,-0.05)] (P<0.0056)”, states the study. “Replacement of processed meat and processed seafood protein with total plant-based protein was associated with improvement in most CVD risk factors and predicted 10-year CVD risk. Replacement of oily fish with legume protein was associated with lower high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels and higher triglycerides.”
Researchers conclude by stating:
Substitution of plant-based protein for animal-based protein, especially from processed meat and processed seafood was inversely associated with the established CVD risk factors such as BMI, waist circumference and lipid levels, and predicted 10-year CVD risk. These findings warrant further investigation in independent studies in other Asian populations.
The full text of the study can be found by clicking here.