Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
. 2018 Oct 1;47(5):1603-1612.
doi: 10.1093/ije/dyy030.

Patterns of Plant and Animal Protein Intake Are Strongly Associated With Cardiovascular Mortality: The Adventist Health Study-2 Cohort

Free PMC article

Patterns of Plant and Animal Protein Intake Are Strongly Associated With Cardiovascular Mortality: The Adventist Health Study-2 Cohort

Marion Tharrey et al. Int J Epidemiol. .
Free PMC article


Background: Current evidence suggests that plant and animal proteins are intimately associated with specific large nutrient clusters that may explain part of their complex relation with cardiovascular health. We aimed at evaluating the association between specific patterns of protein intake with cardiovascular mortality.

Methods: We selected 81 337 men and women from the Adventist Health Study-2. Diet was assessed between 2002 and 2007, by using a validated food frequency questionnaire. Dietary patterns based on the participants' protein consumption were derived by factor analysis. Cox regression analysis was used to estimate multivariate-adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) adjusted for sociodemographic and lifestyle factors and dietary components.

Results: There were 2276 cardiovascular deaths during a mean follow-up time of 9.4 years. The HRs for cardiovascular mortality were 1.61 [98.75% confidence interval (CI), 1.12 2.32; P-trend < 0.001] for the 'Meat' protein factor and 0.60 (98.75% CI, 0.42 0.86; P-trend < 0.001) for the 'Nuts & Seeds' protein factor (highest vs lowest quintile of factor scores). No significant associations were found for the 'Grains', 'Processed Foods' and 'Legumes, Fruits & Vegetables' protein factors. Additional adjustments for the participants' vegetarian dietary pattern and nutrients related to cardiovascular disease outcomes did not change the results.

Conclusions: Associations between the 'Meat' and 'Nuts & Seeds' protein factors and cardiovascular outcomes were strong and could not be ascribed to other associated nutrients considered to be important for cardiovascular health. Healthy diets can be advocated based on protein sources, preferring low contributions of protein from meat and higher intakes of plant protein from nuts and seeds.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Multivariate-adjusted hazard ratio (HR) of CVD mortality (Model 2) by quintile of the ‘Meat’ (A) and ‘Nuts & Seeds’ (B) protein factors and by age categories in 81 337 participants of the Adventist Health Study-2. Significant age interactions were found for the ‘Meat’ and ‘Nuts & Seeds’ protein factors (P = 0.003 and P < 0.001, respectively). HRs were estimated at the mean age of each age category. All confidence intervals were calculated to reflect the 98.75% confidence interval range (following Bonferroni corrections with significance criterion being 0.05/4, i.e. 0.0125 for each quintile).

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 11 articles

See all "Cited by" articles

Publication types