Meat Protein Shown to be Potentially Risky for Heart Health Compared to Protein from Nuts and Seeds

Add this to the list of reasons to eat less (or no) meat. It isn’t widely known, but the World Health Organization classifies processed meat as a carcinogen, there’s legitimate concern of the antibiotics used in animals leading to negative health effects, and the U.S. no longer has a meat origin labeling law. Actually, since 2017, imported meat is allowed to be labeled as a product of the USA, a real “America first” policy if there ever was one.

A study conducted by researchers in California and France has found that meat protein is associated with a sharp increased risk of heart disease while protein from nuts and seeds is beneficial for the human heart.

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The study, which was published online today by the International Journal of Epidemiology, 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.

Gary Fraser, MB ChB, PhD, from Loma Linda University, and François Mariotti, PhD, from AgroParisTech and the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, served as co-principal investigators.

“While dietary fats are part of the story in affecting risk of cardiovascular disease, proteins may also have important and largely overlooked independent effects on risk,” Fraser said. 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.