Making This Food Swap Could Lengthen Your Life, New Study Suggests — Eat This Not That

There are plenty of benefits to reducing meat in favor of eating more plant-based products. Doing so can protect your mind, help your skin, and increase your energy levels. Now, new research suggests that Replacing the calories you get from animal protein with the same amount of plant protein can help you live longer and reduce your risk of dying from heart disease.

In the study published in the journal NutrientsIn the study, the researchers looked at data from a range of previous trials, examining information from nearly 1.5 million adults about the sources of protein in their diets and their health outcomes.

Not only did the researchers find that replacing calories from animal protein with calories from plant protein was associated with lower all-cause mortality and heart disease—they also found that replacing red meat with bread, cereal, and pasta protein was particularly strongly associated with lower heart disease mortality. It’s true that filling your diet with refined grains has its negative health consequences, so if you’re adding more of these foods to your diet, choose whole grains when possible.

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Commenting on the study, Julianna Heffer, MS RD CPT, author The diet you chose now And Healthspan’s solution Says Eat this, not that! They add to the growing evidence linking substituting animal products with plant-based products with reduced disease mortality and longevity.

“When looking at the data on a large scale, plant-based diets not only have the potential to reduce the risk of chronic disease and mortality, but also to reverse severe conditions such as advanced cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes,” Heffer says.

Despite all the benefits of sticking to a plant-based diet, it can still be difficult to make the change. You’ll likely have better luck starting with small changes, rather than trying to cut out animal protein entirely.

“One of my favorite tips for getting more plant protein in the diet is what I call ‘going 50-50,'” Charlotte Martin, MS, RDN, CSOWM, CPT, author The future solution for the factory, Says. “Simply replace half of the animal protein in your favorite recipe with a plant-based protein – this works well for many recipes.”

For example, she recommends replacing half of the meat in a bolognese sauce with lentils. In general, I’ve noticed that adding an ounce of tofu or 1/4 cup of pulses can generally replace every “ounce or two” of meat. Additionally, Martin suggests using legume-based pastas to get more plant protein in your diet and adding protein-packed seeds to your meal when you can.

Whether you want to go completely vegan or just want to start adding a few vegan meals to your recipe, get inspired with these 33 easy plant-based recipes even the carnivores will love.

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