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Plant-based foods can reduce the risk of heart disease by 10%


In a recent study published in Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Researchers at Harbin Medical University in China have found that replacing animal protein with vegetable protein instead of dinner can reduce the risk of certain cardiovascular diseases by 10%.

Plant-based foods

Plant-based foods. Image Credit: Kert /

Relationship between meat and cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) such as congestive heart failure, myocardial infarction (heart attack), and stroke are the leading causes of death worldwide, regardless of race, ethnicity, or gender. The quantity and quality of our daily diet plays an important role in both the prevention and treatment of CVD.

For example, a diet consisting primarily of processed meats, added sugars, and saturated fats has been shown to significantly increase cholesterol levels and subsequently increase the risk of heart disease in individuals. By comparison, a diet high in total carbohydrates such as vegetables and grains and with a reduced amount of meat has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of CVD.

Meal Timing and CVD

In addition to determining an individual’s risk of CVD based on dietary composition, some studies have also investigated how dietary timing alters certain metabolic and physiological parameters.

For example, people who skip breakfast, eat late, or eat enough for dinner have been shown to be at increased risk of obesity. This high energy load later in the day is associated with postprandial hypofunction of both glucose and insulin and may contribute to the development of metabolic syndrome.

Is it possible to determine CVD risk by eating certain foods at certain times?

The quality of foods an individual eats, and the time they eat these meals, can play a role in determining the risk of CVD. However, so far, no scientific study has evaluated how the risk of CVD increases or decreases when certain foods are consumed at specific times of the day.

To further investigate this relationship, a group of researchers at Harbin Medical University in Harbin, China, studied the association between the subtypes of major nutrient consumption at dinner and breakfast and the presence of specific CVDs. To this end, a total of 27,911 participants from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted between 2003 and 2016 were included in the study.

In this study, in addition to animal proteins such as raw lean meats, processed meats, chicken, seafood and dairy products, low-quality carbohydrates such as refined grains, fruit juices, potatoes and other starchy vegetables , And excessive intake of added sugar. And eggs at dinner rather than breakfast were associated with an increased risk of CVD.

By comparison, individuals who ate a diet of similar composition at breakfast had a reduced risk of CVD. Taken together, these findings suggest that dietary timing plays an important role in metabolic regulation. In addition, the circadian clock clearly contributes to these metabolic functions.

Researchers also investigated the effects of calorie replacement, such as reducing one serving of low-quality carbohydrates or animal protein and increasing one serving of high-quality carbohydrates or vegetable protein at dinner in CVD patients. This simultaneous replacement at dinner was found to reduce the risk of both congestive heart failure and stroke by 10% and 12%, respectively.

In addition, replacing one animal protein with one vegetable protein at dinner reduced the risk of congestive heart failure and heart attack by 10% and 8%, respectively.


The results of current studies support the need to adjust nutritional guidelines to not only promote the consumption of high-quality carbohydrates and vegetable proteins, but also to emphasize the importance of dietary timing throughout the day. ..

People should eat less low-quality carbohydrates and animal protein at dinner. “

Journal reference:

  • Hou, W., Gao, J., Jiang, W. , et al. (2021). Dietary Timing for Subtypes of Major Nutrient Consumption with Cardiovascular Disease: NHANES, 2003-2016. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. Doi: 10.1210 / clinem / dgab288.


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