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Trade your Turkey for Tofurkey

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Switch to plant protein for protection from type 2 diabetes

At a time of year when turkey is on everyone’s brain- you may want to rethink that bird before preheating the oven!  New research from the University of Eastern Finland looked at dietary patterns, protein sources and their association with type 2 diabetes.  Their findings may have you reaching for a Tofurkey* this year instead. 

As published in the British Journal of Nutrition, investigators observed diets, height and weight of 2,332 healthy men (without diabetes), 42-60 years old.  During the study period, diets were analyzed using food recall, portion picture books and visits with a nutritionist.  Bloodwork and other measurements were taken at the start as well as at 4, 11, and 20 years from baseline.  Over that time, 432 men were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. 

Average protein intake was 93g per day, or 13oz, coming mostly from dairy and meat followed by plant sources.  Plant protein specifically was associated with a decreased risk of diabetes.  Researchers were able to determine that replacing just 1% of animal protein in the diet with plant protein would result in 18% decreased risk of diabetes.  An increased risk for diabetes was observed in those with a high intake of meat, specifically processed, and unprocessed red meat and white meat like chicken and poultry.  They believe other compounds in these items are responsible for the correlation, as overall protein, animal, fish or dairy were not associated with risk. 

Consider giving your Thanksgiving spread a makeover with these recipes: Thanksgiving Avocado Toast  or Cranberry Apple Stuffing.

*Tofurkey is an American vegetarian turkey replacement made from a blend of wheat protein and tofu.  

Published November 1, 2017

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