Less Meat = Less Health Risk

Adding more plant-based foods to your diet could add years to your life.

Excessive consumption of red and processed meat has been linked with a variety of chronic diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and cancer.

In comparison, substituting plant-based foods for meat has been shown to reduce these health risks, resulting in a better quality of life and increased longevity.

Below are some of the key health benefits of adding more plant-based foods to your diet, while reducing your consumption of meat. Research provided by Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future.


Claim: Meals rich in fruits, vegetables and legumes contain natural antioxidants that benefit cardio-health.


Wang S, Melnyk JP, Tsao R, Marcone MF. How natural dietary antioxidants in fruits, vegetables and legumes promote vascular health. Food Res Int 2011;44(1):14–22.

Crowe, F. L., Appleby, P. N., Travis, R. C., & Key, T. J. (2013). Risk of hospitalization or death from ischemic heart disease among British vegetarians and nonvegetarians: results from the EPIC-Oxford cohort study. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition97(3), 597-603.



Claim: Cutting down on at least ½ serving of red meat every day can decrease your chance of getting diabetes in the long term by nearly 15%

Reference: Schwingshackl, L., Hoffmann, G., Lampousi, AM. et al. Eur J Epidemiol (2017). doi:10.1007/s10654-017-0246-y


Claim: Consumption of processed meats increases risk of coronary heart disease and diabetes.


Micha R, Wallace SK, Mozaffarian D. Red and Processed Meat Consumption and Risk of Incident Coronary Heart Disease, Stroke, and Diabetes Mellitus. Circulation 2010;121(21):2271–83.

Study Result: Consumption of processed meats is associated with 42% higher incidence of coronary heart disease and 19% higher risk of diabetes mellitus.


Claim: Consuming chickpeas and/or hummus may help prevent or offset the development and progression of several chronic diseases (cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes) and promote healthier, functional outcomes (e.g. weight management).


Wallace TC, Murray R, Zelman KM. The Nutritional Value and Health Benefits of Chickpeas and Hummus. Nutrients. 2016;8(12):766. doi:10.3390/nu8120766


Claim: Most Americans eat 1 ½ times more protein than their recommended dietary allowance (RDA) each day.


What We Eat in America, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2009-2010.

US Recommended Daily Allowances:


ClaimEating legumes 3-4 times/week could lower your risk of heart disease by 10%.

Marventano, S., Izquierdo Pulido, M., Sánchez-González, C., Godos, J., Speciani, A., Galvano, F., & Grosso, G. (2017). Legume consumption and CVD risk: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Public Health Nutrition, 20(2), 245-254.

Bechthold, A., Boeing, H., Schwedhelm, C., Hoffmann, G., Knüppel, S., Iqbal, K., . . . Schwingshackl, L. (2017). Food groups and risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and heart failure: A systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 1-20.


Claim: Nuts are a rich source of protein and may help improve concentration.


Walnuts 1 oz = 4.32 grams protein, USDA National Nutrient Database

Arab, L. & Ang, A. J Nutr Health Aging (2015) 19: 284.

Afshin, et al. (2014). Consumption of nuts and legumes and risk of incident ischemic heart disease, stroke, and diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 100, Issue 1, 1 July 2014, Pages 278–288.




Claim: Substituting more plant-based foods for meat is more likely to result in a healthier body weight.


Ledoux TA, Hingle MD, Baranowski T. Relationship of fruit and vegetable intake with adiposity: a systematic review. Obesity Reviews. 2011; 12(5):e143-50.

Romaguera et al. Adherence to the Mediterranean Diet is Associated with Lower Abdominal Adiposity in European Men and Women. Journal of Nutrition. 2009;139(9):1728-1737.



Claim: Eating more plant-based foods and cutting back on red and processed meats can protect your kidneys.


Kalantar-Sadeh K, Fouque D. Nutritional management of chronic kidney disease. New Eng J Med. 2017;377:1765-1776.

Rebholz CM, Crews DC, Grams ME, et al. DASH (dietary approaches to stop hypertension) diet and risk of subsequent kidney disease. Am J Kidney Dis. 2016;68(6):853-861.

See the rest of our kidney health graphics here.