(HealthDay News) — Higher plant protein intake is associated with reductions in the risks for overall and cardiovascular disease mortality in men and women, according to a study published online in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Jiaqi Huang, PhD, from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, and colleagues examined the correlations between overall and cause-specific mortality and plant protein intake in a prospective cohort study. Data were analyzed from 416,104 men and women in the US National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study from 1995 to 2011.

The researchers identified 77,614 deaths based on 6,009,748 person-years of observation. Greater dietary plant protein intake was associated with a reduction in overall mortality for men and women after adjustment for several important clinical and other risk factors (hazard ratio per 1 standard deviation, 0.95 for both men and women). Across subgroups of smoking status, diabetes, fruit consumption, vitamin supplement use, and self-reported health status, the correlation between plant protein intake and overall mortality was similar. An inverse association was seen for replacement of 3% energy from animal protein with plant protein and overall mortality (10% decrease in both men and women) and cardiovascular disease mortality (11 and 12% decrease, respectively).

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“Collectively, the present and previous studies indicate the importance and diverse effects of primary dietary protein sources, including beneficial associations for higher plant protein intake in long-term health outcomes,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and health care industry.


Huang J, Liao LM, Weinstein SJ, et al. Association Between Plant and Animal Protein Intake and Overall and Cause-Specific Mortality [published online July 13, 2020].
JAMA Intern Med. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.2790