McGill researchers find evidence that partially replacing red and processed meat with plant protein foods can increase lifespan and mitigate climate change. The latest Canada’s Food Guide presents a paradigm shift in nutrition advice, nixing traditional food groups, including meat and dairy, and stressing the importance of plant-based proteins. Yet, the full implications of replacing animal with plant protein foods in Canadians’ diets are unknown.

New research at McGill University in collaboration with the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine provides compelling evidence that partially substituting animal with plant protein foods can increase life expectancy and decrease greenhouse gas emissions. Importantly, it also suggests that benefits depend on the type of animal protein being replaced.

The study, published in Nature Food, drew data from a national nutrition survey to analyze Canadians’ dietary records. The study modeled partial replacements (25% and 50%) of either red and processed meat or dairy with plant protein foods like nuts, seeds, legumes, tofu, and fortified soy beverages, on a combination of nutrition, health, and climate outcomes.

Source: ENN

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