Eating less meat doesn’t necessarily improve nutrition

Eating less meat doesn’t necessarily improve nutrition, shows a Quebec study presented at the annual conference Nutrition 2022 of’American Nutrition Society which took place online.

Of course, the foods that are eaten instead of animal proteins must be healthy foods, which is not always the case, as a recent French study has already shown.

Gabrielle Rochefort and her colleagues (1) compared the eating habits of 1,147 people in Quebec based on their consumption of animal and plant proteins. Participants completed a 24-hour diet reminder questionnaire three times.

Consumption of animal protein

The participants were divided into four groups according to their consumption of animal protein. Those in the bottom consumption quartile:

  • ate more plant-based protein, whole grains, and polyunsaturated fat and less salt than people in the top quartile;

  • but ate more foods not recommended by the Canadian Food Guide and more added sugars.

Eating less animal protein does not necessarily mean eating betterthe researcher concludes.

Consumption of vegetable proteins

The participants were then divided into four groups according to their consumption of plant-based proteins. Those in the top consumption quartile:

  • ate more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and polyunsaturated fats;

  • and ate fewer refined grains, animal proteins, processed meats, foods not recommended by the Canadian Food Guide, and sugar and salt.

Their overall diet quality score was significantly higher than those in the bottom quartile“.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations advocates sustainable nutrition that promotes health, minimizes environmental impact, is economically affordable and respects social customs. For these reasons, replacing animal protein with plant-based protein is recommended.“.

Our results suggest that conveying a positive message encouraging people to consume more plant-based proteins is better than a negative message encouraging them to reduce their meat consumption. This increases the chances of facilitating the transition to a healthy and sustainable diet.concludes the researcher.

Please see the links below for more information.

(1) Didier Brassard, Julie Robitaille, Veronique Provencher, Simone Lemieux and Benoît Lamarche.

psychomedia with sources: Laval University.
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