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J Nutr Health Aging. 2001;5(3):200-4.

Dietary protein and cardiovascular risk.

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UMR INRA/INAPG de Physiologie de la Nutrition et du Comportement Alimentaire, INAPG, 16 rue Claude Bernard, 75231 Paris cedex 05, France.


The relations between dietary protein and cardiovascular risk were first considered through their impact on blood cholesterol. Half a century after the first reports of an hypocholesterolemic effect of plant proteins, this subject is still a mater of debate, notably because of the difficulty in distinguishing between an independent effect of proteins and that of phytochemicals present in proteins preparations. In addition, many questions still have to be answered as to how the proteins may affect cholesterol metabolism. This review also describes the recent advances in new areas of research that have recently gained attention. Dietary proteins may affect cardiovascular risk through their effect on homocysteine, glutathione and nitric oxide. Although most of the data now available are still inconclusive, incoming results on these topics may prove important to appraise the role that the amount and/or the nature of dietary proteins play in the onset of cardiovascular disease.

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