Quorn's Mycoprotein Can Lower Cholesterol as Effectively as Mediterranean Diet "With Minimal Effort," Finds First Study of Its Kind

A new study conducted by the University of Exeter has revealed that replacing meat with mycoprotein, such as the offerings from UK-based brand Quorn, can significantly lower “bad” LDL cholesterol by 10 percent — a reduction comparable to adopting a Mediterranean or vegan diet. The research, published in the journal Clinical Nutrition, also indicated that this dietary change can decrease certain factors linked to type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and overall mortality risk. 

“We’re really excited about these results and what they mean for public health,” George Pavis, PhD, leading the study at the University of Exeter, said in a statement. “Previous laboratory studies, where all food eaten is controlled and alcohol and caffeine consumption regulated, have clearly shown that daily consumption of mycoprotein reduces bad cholesterol. But this is the first study of its kind to explore the impact of such a dietary intervention in a real-world, home-based setting where participants were not restricted in terms of what else they consumed or did.”

Reducing LDL cholesterol levels

Pavis says the findings demonstrate that introducing Quorn foods into a diet on a regular basis helps to significantly lower bad cholesterol, blood glucose and c-peptide concentrations, which he says is important for boosting heart health and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. “It was particularly interesting to see the scale of the impact that Quorn consumption had in terms of reducing harmful cholesterol, with its performance over four weeks comparable to what we might expect to see from well-established approaches, such as following a Mediterranean diet.”

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The study involved 72 overweight adults who were observed over four weeks. Those who consumed the equivalent of about two servings of Quorn products per day, experienced a 10 percent reduction in LDL cholesterol, equating to a 0.3 millimole per liter decrease. This finding is significant when compared to the cholesterol level reductions seen with established diets or pharmaceutical treatments over longer periods.

Sam Blunt, Quorn’s director of sustainability and corporate affairs, highlighted the longstanding recognition of Quorn’s potential health benefits.

“The potential cholesterol-lowering effects of Quorn’s mycoprotein were first identified nearly four decades ago and, since then, numerous studies have helped us to understand more about the extent of its cholesterol management capabilities, with its high-fiber content thought to play a key role in this,” Blunt said.

Blunt says that while the benefits of adopting a Mediterranean diet are clear, “it’s not always easy to do” and this study highlights how a simple diet shift, such as consuming Quorn products on a regular basis, may be able to “quickly reduce” cholesterol levels and improve heart health “with minimal effort.”

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Reducing diabetes and heart disease risks

Moreover, the study noted additional health benefits in the Quorn group, including a 13-percent reduction in blood glucose levels and a 27-percent decrease in c-peptide concentrations. These changes are particularly noteworthy considering the high prevalence of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases in the UK, suggesting mycoprotein’s role in managing cholesterol and potentially playing a role in addressing broader public health challenges.

Research published last summer also showed health benefits connected to consuming Quorn products. That study, which was published in the Journal of Nutrition, found mycoprotein to be just as effective at building muscles as part of a resistance training program as animal protein. That study was also conducted by researchers at the University of Exeter.

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