Clinical Edge

Summaries of Must-Read Clinical Literature, Guidelines, and FDA Actions

Effect of Plant Protein on Blood Lipids

J Am Heart Assoc; ePub 2017 Dec 20; Li, et al

Substitution of plant protein for animal protein decreases the established lipid targets low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and apolipoprotein B, a recent study found. The systematic review and meta-analysis included 112 randomized controlled trials of ≥3 weeks comparing the effect of plant protein in substitution for animal protein on LDL-C, non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and apoB. Researchers found:

  • 1 to 2 servings of plant protein in substitution for animal protein decreased LDL-C, non–high‐density lipoprotein cholesterol, and apolipoprotein B by ∼4% in adults with and without hyperlipidemia.
  • Plant protein, especially in combination with other cholesterol‐lowering foods and/or as an adjunct to lipid‐lowering pharmacotherapy, may have a clinically meaningful benefit in helping people to achieve lipid targets and reduce cardiovascular risk.
  • More high-quality randomized trials are needed.


Li SS, Mejia SB, Lytvyn L, et al. Effect of plant protein on blood lipids: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. [Published online ahead of print December 20, 2017]. J Am Heart Assoc. doi:10.1161/JAHA.117.006659.

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