Quorn Foods

The paper suggested that beneficial effects of consuming mycoprotein came as a result of an increased fibre intake against the meals containing meat or fish.

Quorn protein found to lower cholesterol levels in healthy adults

A study from the University of Exeter has found that mycoprotein, the protein-rich food source that is unique to Quorn products, lowers the post absorptive levels of low-density lipoproteins (LDL), commonly known as “bad” cholesterol, more than meat and fish.

Results also showed that there was no difference in blood sugar levels between the different proteins.  

In a week-long study, funded by Quorn and conducted with 20 healthy adults, participants were given a fully controlled diet containing twice daily meals with either meat and fish or mycoprotein as the main dietary protein.

Participants’ glucose levels were monitored continuously throughout the whole week, and blood plasma samples were taken before and after the diets, in order to track the effects of the different protein sources.

The results showed that there was no significant change in blood sugar levels when eating meat and fish or mycoprotein, suggesting that a diet based on mycoprotein does not increase the risk of diabetes compared to animal proteins.

The levels of 45 different lipoproteins fractions, including LDL, IDL, HDL and VDL, found in the plasma samples of those that ate Quorn products, containing mycoprotein, showed a decrease against those that ate meat or fish.

High levels of LDLs create a build-up of cholesterol in your arteries and can represent a high-risk factor for heart attacks.

Additionally, researchers saw that above changes mounted to a decrease of up to 19% in levels of total cholesterol in participants that consumed mycoprotein.

The paper suggested that beneficial effects of consuming mycoprotein came as a result of an increased fibre intake against the meals containing meat or fish.

Providing 6g per 100g, mycoprotein provides more fibre than baked beans and brown bread.

Previous research has found that the inclusion of fibre-rich foods in a healthy balanced diet can contribute to better health and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

The study builds on the University of Exeter’s body of research into the wider health benefits of mycoprotein, after earlier this year finding that the ingredient stimulated post-exercise muscle building to a greater extent than milk protein.

This expanding body of research provides vital support for mycoprotein as a healthy and sustainable alternative protein and encouragement to people looking to incorporate Quorn products into their diets.

As an ingredient high in protein, a complete source of amino acids, high in fibre, low in total and saturated fat and containing no cholesterol, mycoprotein represents a meat-free option that can improve the health of our people and planet.

Benjamin Wall, Associate Professor of Nutritional Physiology at the University of Exeter, said: “This study has demonstrated that the previously shown impact of mycoprotein consumption on lowering circulating cholesterol concentrations is rapid, and achievable with a very practical and feasible intervention (i.e. simply substituting meat for mycoprotein at main meals).

"However, these early changes in circulating cholesterol did not translate to changes in daily blood glucose control or insulin sensitivity, at least over this relatively short period (one week).

"It will be important to follow up this work and assess whether longer periods of habitual mycoprotein consumption translates to changes in robust markers of metabolic health, particularly in more metabolically compromised individuals."

Tim Finnigan, Chief Scientific Adviser for Quorn Foods, said: "We’re excited to see further scientific evidence of mycoprotein as a healthy alternative protein, and proud that this research has been published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

"At a time when more people are considering their diet choices, for environmental or health reasons, Quorn is proud to be able to offer a nutritious, meat-free protein that gives people the choice of change."

Date: 24 July 2020

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