Swapping Out Eggs for Plant Protein Lowers Risk of Mortality, Study Finds

|Updated Jul 17, 2020

More good news for anyone trying to replace even part of their animal-based protein with plant-based sources: A new study just released shows that eating even 3 percent of your protein from plant-based sources reduces your mortality by up to 24 percent; the more plant-based protein you eat instead of meat, dairy, and eggs, the lower your heart disease risk. So if someone asks you why you're avoiding eggs, meat and dairy, or choosing to make your omelet from JUST Eggs, a mung bean protein, you can tell them you're eating heart-healthy.

This is coming on the heels of another study that eating more fruits and vegetables can lower your disk of type 2 diabetes by 50 percent, and yet another US study that showed eating more whole grains also lowers type 2 diabetes by 29 percent. It seems that every day, there is a study to add science to the argument that eating a more whole-food plant-based diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low in animal fat, is better for your long-term health.

Swapping your eggs and meat for plant-based protein can save your life, study finds

The latest study published on the JAMA Network shows that a review of 237, 036 men and 179, 068 women, with16 years of data and nearly 78 ,000 deaths reported over the course of the decade and a half, the greater a person's intake of plant protein, the lower their overall risk of mortality, and that risk of heart disease was lower, even apart from the other risk factors.

What this means for you: "This study provides evidence for public health recommendations regarding dietary modifications in the choice of protein sources that may promote health and longevity," the authors wrote.  "Although emphasis has recently been placed on the importance of high-protein diets to overall health, a comprehensive analysis of long-term cause-specific mortality in association with the intake of plant protein and animal protein has not been reported," they added, until now.

The findings concluded that the greater your dietary plant protein intake was associated with reduced overall mortality in both sexes. The association between plant protein intake and overall mortality was similar across the subgroups of smoking status, diabetes, vitamin supplement use, and self-reported health status; so no matter what else you do to reduce heart disease risk, eating more plants has the biggest impact.

Even a small amount of plant-based protein has a big benefit to your heart-disease risk

Replacement of 3% of your energy from animal protein with plant protein was inversely associated with overall mortality, the study found. For both men and women that small switch resulted in a decreased risk of 10%.

Eggs were a particular interest to the authors, since substituting eggs with plant-based protein showed an overall lower risk of 24 percent for men and 21 percent for women.

Switching out meat for plant-based proteins had similar, if slightly lower, benefits: swapping meat for plant-based proteins lowered the risk of heart disease 13 percent for men and 15 percent for women.

A diet of mostly plant-based protein is better for your health, lowering your risk of heart disease and mortality, so the study's authors conclude that in the age when high-protein diets are popular, if someone advises you to go on a high-protein diet, make sure it's plant-based.