Eating too much meat causes mortality while proteins from plants lower mortality. This has been shown on a consistent basis and it proves that a meat-based diet is not healthy.
Meat in particular red meat is dangerous when eaten in excess. It has deleterious effects on health. However, proteins from plants may help ward off the negative effects of red meat consumption.
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The novel study,published in JAMA Internal Medicine, revealed that people who eat more plant protein instead of meat not only have greater longevity, they also tend to avoid other bad habits. These include consumption of tobacco products and alcohol addiction.
Not only the source of the protein (animal or plant) but the quantity you consume matter in the long run. 130,000 people were studied. Half of these got 14% of their calories from animal sources such as eggs, dairy and meat and 4% from plant proteins.
These included grains, pasta, nuts, legumes and beans. At the beginning the majority of the participants in the study were women and they were 49 years old. Towards the end, 36,000 had died. From these 13,000 died from cancer while 8850 died from CV disease.
Among the various factors that counted were: obesity, alcoholism, smoking and a sedentary lifestyle. A 3% increase in plant protein led to a 10% lowered risk of death.
However, with a 10% increase in meat consumption, the mortality risk increased by 2% from any cause. Also the risk of death from CV disease increased by 8%.
The link between death by eating meat was stronger for the obese and overweight. Those who lead unhealthy lives and are obese tend to have inflammatory problems and metabolic diseases. Thus they are more susceptible to the deleterious effects of eating meat.
Those who are meat-eaters and have a healthy lifestyle tend to eat more poultry and fish. Those with an unhealthy lifestyle eat more eggs, red meat and high-fat dairy.
Thus for those who led healthy lives, the consumption of animal protein was not such an issue. However, for those who led sedentary and unhealthy lives, the comsumption of meat was deadly.
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This study did have its limits since not all meat-eaters kick the bucket at a premature age, but it was a useful indicator of the benefits of a plant-based diet and a healthy lifestyle that included plenty of exercise, rest, optimal nutrition and stress relief.