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June 11, 1982

Switch to soy protein for boring but healthful diet

JAMA. 1982;247(22):3045-3046. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320470009004

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Physicians attempting to alter the blood lipid levels of their patients might look to a new form of control: increasing the proportion of plant protein in the diet.

Two reports at the recent meeting of the American Institute of Nutrition in New Orleans showed that substituting plant protein for animal protein in the diets of healthy, normal volunteers had beneficial effects on blood lipid levels in short-term trials, even though the lipid component of the diet was not altered. The different degrees of change seen in the two studies may reflect the different proportions of plant protein in the respective diets.

Those of us raised with the contemporary emphasis on reducing dietary fats and cholesterol might be surprised to learn that the first explanation of atherogenesis focused primarily on protein. In 1909, the Russian physician and physiologist A. Ignatowski postulated that the clearest explanation for the high incidence of heart