Background and aims: The relationships between dietary protein intake and risk of all-cause, cardiovascular disease (CVD), and cancer mortality are still unclear. We conducted a systematic review with meta-analysis of cohort studies to summarize the evidence.
Methods and results: We searched PubMed and Web of Science for relevant studies through February 2020. The associations of total, animal, and plant proteins with all-cause, CVD, and cancer mortality were evaluated. Study-specific relative risks (RR) were pooled using the fixed effect model when no significant heterogeneity was detected; otherwise the random effect model was employed. Twelve cohort studies were eligible for the study. Increased total protein showed no clear association with risk of all-cause, CVD, and cancer mortality. In the stratified analysis by protein sources, higher plant protein intake was associated with a reduced risk of all-cause mortality (highest vs lowest intake: RR = 0.92; 95% CI: 0.88, 0.96; each 3% increment of intake: RR = 0.97; 95% CI: 0.94, 0.99), and may be associated with a reduced risk of CVD mortality (highest vs lowest intake: RR = 0.90; 95% CI: 0.80, 1.01; each 3% increment of intake: RR = 0.95; 95% CI: 0.91, 0.99). Moreover, higher intake of animal protein may be associated with an increased risk of CVD mortality (highest vs lowest intake: RR = 1.11; 95% CI: 1.01, 1.22; each 3% increment of intake: RR = 1.02; 95% CI: 0.98, 1.06).
Conclusion: This study demonstrates that higher plant protein intake is associated with a reduced risk of all-cause and CVD-related mortality. Persons should be encouraged to increase their plant protein intake to potentially decrease their risk of death.
Keywords: Cancer; Cardiovascular disease; Dietary protein; Meta-analysis; Mortality.
Copyright © 2020 The Italian Diabetes Society, the Italian Society for the Study of Atherosclerosis, the Italian Society of Human Nutrition and the Department of Clinical Medicine and Surgery, Federico II University. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.