New Research Proposes Substituting Red Meat With This Protein to Reduce Cholesterol and Lose Belly Fat

In just a brief two-week timeframe, individuals who incorporated Quorn into their diets, a popular meat substitute derived from mycoprotein, experienced remarkable improvements in their cholesterol levels and waist circumference. Specifically, they witnessed a significant 12% reduction in “bad” LDL cholesterol and a 7% decrease in total cholesterol. Furthermore, these same participants saw an average reduction of nearly 1cm (0.95cm) in their waist circumference compared to those who consumed traditional red and processed meat products.

The implications of this drop in total cholesterol are noteworthy in terms of cardiovascular health. Medical research suggests that such a reduction can lower the risk of fatal cardiovascular diseases, including strokes and coronary heart disease, by up to 9%. Waist circumference serves as a valuable indicator of abdominal fat and plays a pivotal role in assessing cardiovascular health. The almost 1cm decrease in the mycoprotein group, achieved in a relatively short span, hints at potential benefits for both heart health and body composition.

The study, conducted as an investigator-blind trial involving 20 healthy male adults, randomly assigned participants to consume 240 grams of red and processed meat per day or an equivalent amount of Quorn over two separate 14-day periods. This research also unveiled additional heart health advantages associated with mycoprotein, the distinctive ingredient found in all Quorn products. The study detected a significant trend toward lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure in the mycoprotein group, which could contribute to overall cardiovascular improvements.

These findings come in the wake of the latest annual Health Survey for England, which estimated that a significant portion of adults (59%) struggle with elevated cholesterol levels, almost two-thirds (64%) are overweight or obese, and nearly a third (30%) have high blood pressure. These three factors are well-known contributors to cardiovascular diseases, potentially putting millions of people at risk of life-threatening heart attacks or strokes.

High cholesterol is primarily attributed to diets high in saturated fats, excess abdominal fat, and insufficient physical activity. Elevated levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, often referred to as “bad” cholesterol, can lead to the accumulation of fatty deposits in the arteries, narrowing blood flow and increasing the risk of heart-related events. Presently, high LDL cholesterol is associated with a quarter of the 460 heart and circulatory disease deaths recorded daily in the UK.

In the UK, nearly eight million people rely on statins to manage their cholesterol levels, but concerns about the affordability of these medications have arisen due to recent shortages. The cost of the most commonly prescribed statin, atorvastatin, increased from 49p to £5.30 over a six-week period.

Maintaining a healthy waist circumference is also crucial for preventing future heart attacks and strokes. A larger waist typically signifies excess fat around and within organs, which, when present in the liver, can release excessive fat and sugar into the bloodstream, elevating the risk of coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes, especially when fat accumulates in the abdominal region.

Commenting on the study’s findings, Dr. Daniel Commane, the lead researcher and Associate Professor in Nutritional Sciences at Northumbria University, emphasized the significance of this dietary change involving mycoprotein. He noted that it can deliver substantial heart health benefits within a short timeframe, potentially reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease-related deaths by up to nine percent. Additionally, mycoprotein may play a pivotal role in supporting weight loss and long-term weight management, essential considerations given the health risks associated with obesity, affecting nearly two out of three people in England.

Fungi-based proteins like Quorn’s mycoprotein constitute a distinct category of food separate from plant-based options. They are increasingly recognized for their unique nutritional qualities. Mycoprotein, cultivated through the ancient fermentation process, qualifies as a “complete protein,” low in saturated fat, free of cholesterol, and acknowledged as a healthy source of protein and fiber. It contributes to a healthy and sustainable diet, aligning with the UK Government’s Eatwell Guide, which outlines healthy eating guidelines.

Tim Finnigan, Scientific Advisor for Quorn Foods and Visiting Professor at Northumbria University, stressed the importance of addressing the challenges posed by raised cholesterol and high blood pressure, often referred to as “silent killers.” He highlighted that individuals can make a significant difference in their heart health by incorporating mycoprotein into their diets. Derived from naturally occurring fungi, mycoprotein closely replicates the taste and texture of meat and is backed by substantial evidence from over 20 published studies, showcasing its health benefits as a high-quality protein source.

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Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Nook Explorer journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.