Is it time to prescribe a plant-based diet?


  • Mary Corcoran
  • Univadis Medical News
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Diets with a higher intake of plant-based protein could contribute to better health and longevity, according to research published this week in JAMA Internal Medicine

For the study, researchers evaluated the associations between animal and plant protein intake and all-cause and cause-specific mortality in 70,696 adults from the Japan Public Health Center-based Prospective Cohort. Participants aged 45-74 years were followed for a mean of 18 years. Data on dietary intake were collected through a validated food frequency questionnaire and participants were grouped into quintile categories based on protein intake.

During the study period, 12,381 participants died. The study found intake of plant protein was associated with lower total mortality (hazard ratio [HR] for quintile 2, 0.89 [95% CI, 0.83-0.95]: HR for quintile 3, 0.88 [95% CI, 0.82-0.95]; HR for quintile 4, 0.84 [95% CI, 0.77- 0.92]; HR for quintile 5, 0.87 [95% CI, 0.78-0.96]; with quintile 1 as the reference category) (P=.01 for trend). Higher intake of plant protein was also associated with lower cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality. 

Eating animal protein was not associated with mortality outcomes, but the authors found replacement of red or processed meat protein with plant protein was associated with lower total, cancer-related and CVD-related mortality.