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Replacing animal meat with plant-based alternatives is healthier for your heart, research says

Some of the meat alternative products have even been shown to improve some cardiovascular risk factors, like cholesterol levels, according to research.
Meat Alternative Beyond Beef Impossible Burger
Posted at 3:18 PM, Jun 26, 2024

Replacing animal meat with plant-based alternatives could be better for your heart, a group of Canadian researchers said in a review article published on Tuesday.

On average, plant-based meat alternatives tend to have more heart-healthy nutritional profiles than animal meat, with the exception of high sodium in some products, the authors wrote in the review article published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology.

Even plant-based meat alternatives that were high in sodium did not appear to raise one’s blood pressure, the article said. There’s also no evidence that suggests the higher processing needed to produce plant-based meat alternatives negates the heart-health benefits.

Some of the meat alternative products have even been shown to improve some cardiovascular risk factors, like cholesterol levels, the article said.

Plant-based meat alternatives are typically made with protein derivatives from soy, peas, wheat and fungi, and have become increasingly popular as many people have altered their diets to consume less meat.

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The review’s authors — all from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver — looked at previously published research on plant-based meat alternatives from 1970 to 2023 to form their analysis.

"While the plant-based meat market has experienced significant growth in recent years and more and more Canadians are enjoying plant-based burgers, surprisingly little is known about how these meat alternatives may impact health and in particular cardiovascular disease risk,” said lead author Dr. Matthew Nagra. “Thus, we sought to review the available literature on the topic to identify what is currently known and to provide direction for future research."

The review noted there is very little research available on some of the common components found in plant-based meat alternatives like vital wheat gluten, one of the primary protein sources for many of these products.

In conclusion, the review said replacing animal meat with plant-based alternatives is healthier for the heart, but more thorough research is needed in the future.

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