Replacing approximately half of animal protein sources with vegetarian ones reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

This has been detailed in a larger overview study carried out at the University of Bergen, writes

Jutta Dierkes at Clinical Institute 1 and her Nordic colleagues have carried out a so-called systematic study review on the health effects of replacing animal protein sources with vegetarian ones.

The focus was on studies with healthy people. Studies with people who already have diseases were excluded, says professor of clinical nutrition, Jutta Dierkes.

The researchers analysed diet in relation to the occurrence and mortality of cardiovascular diseases and the occurrence of type 2 diabetes.

The analysis of the clinical studies show that replacing animal protein with plant protein has a positive effect on cholesterol. The effect is greatest on the dangerous LDL cholesterol, says Dierkes.

The review of the cohort studies showed that replacing three to five percent of the energy intake consumed as animal protein with plant protein will reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease by between 10-20 percent.

Calculated on the basis that our daily energy intake is around 2,000 calories, this corresponds to approximately 80 grams of chicken breast or half a litre of milk, says Dierkes as an example.

For most people, this will mean roughly halving the daily intake of animal proteins. According to Dierkes, it is not only good for health, but also for the environment.

Our meat intake has decreased, but the vast majority of us eat more meat than is recommended. This is not about cutting meat completely, but about reducing it. Halving our meat intake is wise both from a health perspective and a sustainability perspective, says the professor.

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