Since foods are a package deal, Dr. Walter Willet, the Chair of Harvard’s nutrition department, recommends we emphasize plant sources of protein rather than animal sources.
Image thanks to Global Crop Diversity Trust.
The dietary recommendations of countries that rely on their health departments to formulate them rather than their agriculture departments more closely parallel the recommendations of academics such as Walter Willet, the Chair of Harvard’s nutrition department, who, in his essentials of healthy eating guide talks about picking the best “protein packages, recognizing that food is a package deal and so one of his top 3 recommendations is we should emphasize plant sources of protein rather than animal sources.
See, to the metabolic systems engaged in protein production and repair, it doesn't matter whether amino acids come from animal or plant protein. However, protein is not consumed in isolation. Instead, it is packaged with a host of other nutrients. The "baggage" that I refer to in previous videos. The quality and amount of fats, carbohydrates, sodium, and other nutrients in the ‘‘protein package’’ may influence long-term health. For example, results from the Harvard Nurses’ Health Study suggest that eating more protein from beans, nuts, seeds, and the like—while cutting back on refined carbohydrates like white flour—reduces the risk of heart disease.
So the bottom line… Go with plants. Eating a plant-based diet is healthiest.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Peter Mellor.
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Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. Be sure to check out all the videos on dietary guidelines and heart disease. If you're worried about the gassiness of beans, check out my blogpost Clearing the Air. And as always, there are 1,449 subjects covered in my other videos–please feel free to explore them!
For some more context, please check out my associated blog posts: Dietary Guideline Graphics: From the Food Pyramid to My Plate, Harvard’s Healthy Eating Plate, and PCRM’s Power Plate, Do Eden Beans Have Too Much Iodine?, How to Enhance Mineral Absorption, Preventing and Treating Kidney Failure With Diet, Cholesterol Lowering in a Nut Shell, What Is the Healthiest Meat?, and 98% of American Diets Potassium Deficient