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Balancing diets: study highlights plant protein's impact on nutrient levels in Americans

A recent Nutrients study examined how increasing plant protein intake quartiles affects nutritional adequacy in the U.S. Plant-based diets are gaining popularity for health and environmental reasons, but they may reduce overall protein quantity and quality, as per recent findings.

Study Overview:

Researchers analyzed dietary recall data from 19,493 individuals aged nine years and above from 2013 to 2018. They assessed nutritional adequacy by comparing nutrient intakes with estimated average requirements (EAR) or adequate intake (AI) levels.


Adolescents saw declines in vitamin D, potassium, and calcium sufficiency with rising plant protein quartiles, while adults aged 19 to 50 had drops in choline, protein, zinc, vitamin B12, and selenium adequacy. However, folate, copper, magnesium, thiamine, vitamin C, and iron adequacy increased. Those over 51 experienced drops in calcium, zinc, and vitamin A sufficiency but increases in magnesium, folate, copper, vitamin C, and thiamine adequacy.


Balanced diets with median plant protein consumption are optimal, altering dietary adequacy with varying nutrient levels across different plant protein consumption quartiles.