Increasing legumes and reducing red meat is safe for bone health (if care is taken)
What happens if we switch red meat with pea- and faba-bean-based foods? Experts tracked 102 Finnish men who followed their usual diets for six weeks but were not allowed to eat red meat, processed meat or legumes other than:
• One group ate 760g red and processed meat each week (accounting for 25% of their protein intake);
• The other group ate food products based on legumes, mainly peas and faba beans (accounting for 20% of their protein intake).
The researchers did not find any differences between the dietary groups in calcium, vitamin D or markers of bone strength. The average amino acid and protein intakes met the recommendations in both groups.
“Decreasing the consumption of red and processed meat in the diet to the upper limit of the Planetary Health Diet while increasing the consumption of legumes cultivated in Finland, such as peas and faba beans, is safe from the perspective of protein nutrition,” explains Docent Suvi Itkonen who is involved in the work. “Similarly, bone health is not compromised by such a dietary change either.”
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