Increasingly we are watching how much protein we consume as part of our daily diets. But the type of protein we choose has a significant impact of health. Time to cut down on the bacon, eggs and sausages? Scientists have found that eating less animal protein, such as red meat and dairy, and increasing plant proteins such as vegetables, nuts or wholegrains, substantially reduces death rates.
The researchers from Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital found switching a small amount of processed red meat for plant protein reduces the risk of early death by a staggering 34%. For a man, swapping just 19g of animal protein, a few slices of bacon or a sausage, for wholegrains, nuts or vegetables, significantly cut the risk of an early death. For the same effect, a woman needs to exchange just 15g. Switching eggs for plant protein also led to a 19 percent reduction in risk of early death.
Professor Tom Key, director of Oxford University's Cancer Epidemiology Unit, summarised how important it is to cut down on processed meat for good health: 'Overall the study adds to the view that heathy diets should emphasise plant foods, including plant sources of protein and that intakes of animal source foods - especially processed meat - should be low'