To Your Health
September, 2019 (Vol. 13, Issue 09)
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Math Can Help You Live Longer

By Editorial Staff

If you're not a math fan, it's time to become one if you care about your health. All you need to remember is one simple equation: Less meat protein + more plant protein = a longer life.

Need proof? Consider a recent study that compared the impact of plant protein intake on longevity. According to the study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, a research journal produced by the American Medical Association, people who eat more plant protein live longer than people who eat less, pure and simple. That's the conclusion from a two-decade study that tracked more than 70,000 middle-aged Japanese adults. Eating the largest amounts of protein from plant sources (compared to the least amount) correlated with a 13 percent reduced risk of dying during the study period and a 16 percent reduced risk of dying from a cardiovascular cause.

While consumption of animal protein didn't directly influence longevity in this study, other research links meat protein consumption – particularly red meat – to poorer health outcomes compared to eating plant-based protein. (For example, earlier this year, we reported on another study that suggests people who increase their red meat intake by even a 1/2 serving a day beyond average intake have a higher risk of death than people who don't.)

This study also leaves one with only two conclusions: People who eat the least amount of plant protein (and are more likely to die before their plant-protein-eating counterparts) either aren't eating much protein at all or (more likely) they're eating animal sources of protein instead. Talk to your doctor for more information on the dramatic impact diet can have (for better or worse) on your health and wellness.