plant protein

The source of the protein we eat (plant vs. animal) matters to our health because food is a package deal. Plant protein, unlike animal protein, naturally contains healthy nutrients thought to extend our lifespan, significantly reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer, boost our immune system, and prevent/treat rheumatoid arthritis. Plant-based diets may also prevent both age-related weight gain and premature puberty (see also here). Gluten is a healthy source of plant protein for 99% of Americans. Beans, including lentils, are another excellent plant protein source. Even processed meat-free “meats” are better for our health than animal protein (see, for example a comparison between chicken and cholesterol-free plant protein chicken). And the new USDA Guidelines (MyPlate) recognize plant protein, including soy, as healthy alternatives to animal protein.

Topic summary contributed by Elizabeth Stolle.
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Watch videos about plant protein

  • Protein, Puberty, and Pollutants
    Protein, Puberty, and Pollutants
    The early onset of puberty in girls associated with animal protein consumption may be due to endocrine disrupting chemical pollutants in the meat supply.
  • Nonhuman Molecules Lining Our Arteries
    Nonhuman Molecules Lining Our Arteries
    The foreign meat molecule Neu5Gc builds up in human tumors and atherosclerotic plaques and may play an inflammatory role in the progression of both diseases.
  • Protein and Heart Disease
    Protein and Heart Disease
    Why is the intake of animal protein associated with heart disease--even independent of saturated fat—and the intake of plant protein protective?
  • Paleolithic Lessons
    Paleolithic Lessons
    An evolutionary argument for a plant-based diet is presented, in contrast to "paleo" fad diets.
  • Too Much Soy May Neutralize Benefits
    Too Much Soy May Neutralize Benefits
    Vegans consuming 7-18 servings of soy foods a day may end up with circulating IGF-1 levels comparable to those who eat meat.
  • Animalistic Plant Proteins
    Animalistic Plant Proteins
    While animal proteins increase levels of the cancer-promoting growth hormone IGF-1, and most plant proteins bring levels down, "high quality" plant proteins such as soy may not significantly affect...
  • Higher Quality May Mean Higher Risk
    Higher Quality May Mean Higher Risk
    The reason animal proteins trigger the release of the cancer-promoting growth hormone IGF-1 more than plant proteins may be because the relative ratios of amino acids in animal proteins more closely...
  • Protein Intake & IGF-1 Production
    Protein Intake & IGF-1 Production
    Animal protein consumption triggers the release of the cancer-promoting growth hormone IGF-1.
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