A higher intake of proteins from animal sources, like processed and unprocessed red meats, eggs can lead to an increase in mortality rate in people living an unhealthy lifestyle and are obese or underweight, says a study.
On the other hand, the elevated mortality risk association was found to disappear in participants with living a healthy lifestyle.
The findings showed that higher consumption breads, cereals, pasta, beans, nuts and legumes – the protein from plant sources can lower the mortality rate.
Conversely, a high consumption of protein from animal sources like any types of meat, eggs or dairy lead to an increase in the death rate.
In addition, the rate mortality increased among individuals who were under heavy alcohol consumption and with a history of smoking, or physical inactivity.
“Overall, our findings support the importance of the sources of dietary protein for long-term health outcomes,” said Mingyang Song, research student in the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).
“Our findings also have public health implications and can help refine current dietary recommendations about protein intake, in light of the fact that it is not only the amount of protein but the specific food sources that is critical for long-term health,” Song added.
“Our findings suggest that people should consider eating more plant proteins than animal proteins, and when they do choose among sources of animal protein, fish and chicken are probably better choices than red meat,” Song suggested.
For the study, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, the team analysed 170,000 participants since the 1980s.
During these time periods more than 36,000 deaths were documented among study participants – almost 9,000 from cardiovascular disease, around 13,000 from cancer and about 14,000 from other causes.