Red meats are popular sources of protein for millions of people around the world, but health experts have warned people against the dangers of consuming excessive red meats in their daily diets. Red meats are rich in protein, but they also contain high amounts of cholesterol-raising fats. This is why a number of sports persons and people trying to slim down prefer white meats and plant proteins to load up on the essential nutrient in their diet. A new study has substantiated what we already know about red meats, indicating that plant proteins are a better alternative. The study has said that replacing red meats with healthier plant proteins may decrease cardiovascular risk factors like favourable changes in lipoproteins and blood lipids. The results of the study have been published in the journal Circulation.
The study was conducted by researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Purdue University and it was a meta-analysis of randomised control trials. The study examined the health impacts of red meats and then compared them to the impact of substituting these with high quality plant protein. The study was titled, "Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials of Red Meat Consumption in Comparison With Various Comparison Diets on Cardiovascular Risk Factors". It looked at 36 studies with data of a total of 1,803 participants and it compared the people who ate red meats with people who ate more of other types of protein-rich foods like chicken, fish, legumes, soy and nuts. They looked at the blood concentrations of cholesterol, triglycerides, lipoproteins as well as levels of blood pressure.
The study found that when red meat diet was compared to the health effects of all other types of diets combined, there was no significant difference in CVD risk factors. However, when CVD risk factors of people consuming red meats were compared to those of people consuming plant proteins, a significant difference was seen. Diets richer in high-quality plant proteins were said to result in lower levels of total cholesterol and Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol. The study report concluded by saying, "Inconsistencies regarding the effects of red meat on cardiovascular disease risk factors are attributable, in part, to the composition of the comparison diet. Substituting red meat with high-quality plant protein sources, but not with fish or low-quality carbohydrates, leads to more favorable changes in blood lipids and lipoproteins."