Which proteins to choose, animal or vegetable proteins?

Proteins, made up of amino acids linked together, are essential for cell health and tissue repair. If these different amino acids are present in plants as in animals, then we are talking less about plant proteins than animal proteins. However, we are well advised to prefer it in our diet for better health outcomes and even a longer life, according to this international study.

Data presented in JAMA Internal Medicine should remind us that certain plants, legumes, grains, seeds or vegetables can be an important and beneficial source of protein.

Researchers from various American and Italian institutes, including Harvard University, the Broad Institute of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the University of Southern California and the Institute of Molecular Oncology (Italy) analyzed health and food intake data, collected by means of a nutritional questionnaire. Every 4 years, from more than 131,342 health professionals (85,013 women and 46,329 men) participating in the 2 Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Animal protein was considered based on consumption of meat, poultry, dairy, fish and eggs. Plant proteins based on the consumption of bread, cereals, pasta, nuts, beans and legumes.

Some important criteria:

The average protein consumption of the participants was 14% for animal proteins and 4% for plant proteins.

Animal protein intake is associated with an 8% increased risk of death, particularly from diseases and cardiovascular events,

High intake of plant-based protein is associated with a 10% lower risk of death.

An increased risk of death, with a high intake of animal protein, is seen only in people with at least one other unhealthy lifestyle factor, such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, being overweight or obese and/or a sedentary lifestyle.

Replacing animal proteins with vegetable proteins makes it possible to reduce the risk of death: by replacing 3% of the energy intake in animal proteins with vegetable proteins, it is possible to reduce the risk of death from all causes by 33%, over the follow-up period of 25 years.

Limit or at least diversify your animal protein intake

Thus, while the study suggests that eating plant protein is better than eating animal protein, it does not show that animal protein is directly responsible for the increased risk of disease. These data support the conclusions. Previous studies recommend limiting animal protein intake, especially those For processed red meat, then choose a varied diet, including in terms of protein sources.


Mingyang Song & al: Association of animal and vegetable protein intake with all-cause and cause-specific mortality. JAMA Internal Medicine doi: 10.1001 / jamainternmed.2016.4182

Like our content?

Get our latest posts every day for free and straight to your inbox

Leave a reply:

Your email address will not be published.