Topical Area: Nutritional Epidemiology
Objectives : Previous findings have linked higher animal protein intake with an increase in overall mortality and increased risk of chronic diseases, including cancer and cardiovascular disease (CVD), in older adults, while some data suggest that plant protein food sources may confer health benefits. The objective of the current analysis was to examine associations between all animal protein and plant protein sources with mortality from all-causes, cancer, and CVD, using data from NHANES III.
Methods : Data in all adults (19-99 years-old (yrs-old); N=17,199) and older adults (66-99 yrs-old) was linked with mortality data (Mortality N for 19-99 yrs-old = 4,280; Mortality N for 66-99 yrs-old = 505), through 2006. Individual usual intakes for protein intake were estimated using the National Cancer Institute method.
Results : Hazard ratios (HR) models were fit for mortality types (all cause, cancer, CVD) with measures of protein intake. No associations were seen between animal protein intake and all-cause [HR=1.01; confidence intervals (CI): 0.99-1.02; p=0.25], cancer [HR=1.00; CI: 0.98-1.03; p=0.78], and CVD [HR=1.01; CI: 0.99-1.02; p=0.15] mortality. No associations were seen between plant protein intake and all-cause [HR=0.99; CI: 0.97-1.01; p=0.17], cancer [HR=1.01 CI: 0.97-1.05; p=0.43], and CVD [HR=1.00; CI: 0.97-1.02; p=0.69] mortality. Similarly, no associations were seen between animal protein intake and all-cause mortality [HR=1.00; CI: 0.98-1.01; p=0.38], and CVD mortality [HR=1.00; CI: 0.99-1.02; p=0.51] in older adults, however, a 3% reduction in cancer mortality was linked to animal protein intake [HR=0.97; CI: 0.94-1.01; p=0.025]. No associations were seen between plant protein intake and all-cause [HR=1.00; CI: 0.98-1.03; p=0.70], cancer [HR=1.03; CI: 0.97-1.10; p=0.22] and CVD mortality [HR=1.01; CI: 0.97-1.04; p=0.74] in older adults.
Conclusions : The current results contradict previous findings that have linked animal protein intake to various chronic diseases. Similarly, the current analysis did not link beneficial mortality outcomes with plant protein consumption. A small, but significant beneficial association was seen with animal protein intake in older US adults.
Funding Sources :
Supported by The Beef Checkoff, through the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association