Isocaloric Substitution of Plant-Based Protein for Animal-Based Protein and Cardiometabolic Risk Factors in a Multiethnic Asian Population

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



The Journal of nutrition








Asian; cardiovascular disease; dietary protein; lipids; plant-based


BACKGROUND: Evidence is accumulating that intake of animal-based and plant-based proteins has different effects on cardiometabolic health, but less is known about the health effect of isocaloric substitution of animal-based and plant-based proteins. Data from Asian populations are limited. OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to evaluate the effects of isocaloric substitution of total plant-based proteins for total and various animal-based protein food groups and to evaluate the effects of substituting protein from legumes and pulses for various animal-based protein food groups on cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors and predicted 10-y CVD risk. METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional analysis using data collected from 9211 Singapore residents (aged 21-75 y) from the Singapore Multi-Ethnic Cohort. Data on sociodemographic and lifestyle factors were collected using questionnaires. Dietary intakes were assessed using a validated FFQ. BMI, waist circumference, and blood pressure were measured during a physical examination, and blood samples were collected to measure lipid profiles. Associations were assessed by substitution models using a multiple linear regression analysis. RESULTS: Isocaloric substitution of total plant-based proteins for total and all specific animal-based protein food groups were associated with lower BMI (β: -0.30; 95% CI: -0.38, -0.22), waist circumference (β: -0.85; 95% CI: -1.04, -0.66), and LDL cholesterol concentrations (β: -0.06; 95% CI: -0.08, -0.05) (P < 0.0056). Replacement of processed meat and processed seafood proteins with total plant-based proteins was associated with improvement in most CVD risk factors and predicted 10-y CVD risk. Replacement of oily fish with legume proteins was associated with lower HDL cholesterol and higher TG concentrations. CONCLUSIONS: The substitution of plant-based proteins for animal-based proteins, especially from processed meat and processed seafood, was inversely associated with the established CVD risk factors such as BMI, waist circumference, and lipid concentrations and predicted 10-y CVD risk. These findings warrant further investigation in independent studies in other Asian populations.


Exercise and Nutrition Sciences