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How much animal protein do you eat?

Posted by on Mar. 5, 2014 at 8:16 PM
  • 43 Replies

High-Protein Diets In Midlife Linked To High Risk Of Premature Death, Study Says
03/04/14 12:00 PM ET
Atkins afficionados, Paleo enthusiasts, and Dukan devotees, you may want to reconsider what's on your plate. While high-protein diets have been all the rage over the last few years for their waist-whittling goodness, a new study says they could be as bad for you as smoking.

Researchers at the University of Southern California's Davis School of Gerontology believe high protein consumption in middle age could mean a much higher risk of death from cancer and diabetes. The study followed 6,318 adults from a variety of ethnicities and health histories over two decades and found those with diets high in animal proteins were just as likely to die as a result of cancer as a regular smoker. Animal proteins include things like meats, cheeses, milk, and eggs.

The study also pinpointed animal proteins as the culprit behind the 74 percent increased risk of death within the study period, from any cause. Even when controlling the amount of fats and carbs in the participants' diets, high animal protein diets had negative health effects. Diets high in plant-based proteins, however, including foods like beans, lentils, and nuts, did not have the same dangerous effects as animal proteins.

"The research shows that a low-protein diet in middle age is useful for preventing cancer and overall mortality, through a process that involves regulating IGF-I and possibly insulin levels," study co-author Eileen Crimmins said in a release.

The good news? High-protein diets could actually be beneficial after age 65, when IGF-I levels naturally level off. People over 65 with a high- or moderate-protein diet are actually less susceptible to chronic disease.

The CDC recommends 46 grams of protein per day for adult women and 56 grams for men. But with popular fad diets, many people are consuming considerably more. "The majority of Americans are eating about twice as much proteins as they should, and it seems that the best change would be to lower the daily intake of all proteins but especially animal-derived proteins," co-author Valter Longo said in a release.

High-protein diets have been hotly debated for years. Health experts stress that these diets are deceivingly high in saturated fats and low in fiber, which could mean high cholesterol and an increased risk of heart disease or stroke. In 2010, a study found a direct link between high-protein diets and high rates of lung and colorectal cancers in men. The health of Atkins Diet founder, Robert Atkins, was also cause for concern, as he had a history of heart attack and heart failure before his 2003 death.

The USC study defined low-protein diets as those where 10 percent of calories or less come from protein, and high-protein diets as those with 20 percent or more calories coming from protein. But even moderate-protein diets in middle age were shown to result in three times the likelihood of death from cancer.

Researchers believe the protein-controlled growth hormone, IGF-I, could be to blame. Even slight increases in IGF-I have been shown to significantly increase the chances of cancer-related death.

"Almost everyone is going to have a cancer cell or pre-cancer cell in them at some point. The question is: does it progress?" Longo asked. "Turns out one of the major factors in determining if it does is protein intake."

by on Mar. 5, 2014 at 8:16 PM
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Replies (1-10):
by Platinum Member on Mar. 5, 2014 at 8:22 PM
by on Mar. 5, 2014 at 8:54 PM

I eat too much. I've recently started cutting back my portions and upping the veggies. 

by Bronze Member on Mar. 5, 2014 at 10:26 PM

Life without meat and cheese is no life for me! 

by Platinum Member on Mar. 6, 2014 at 12:42 AM
1 mom liked this
In a vegetarian so not much. I eat some cheese but not as much as I use to. There's been a lot of links to dairy and cancer too
by Gold Member on Mar. 6, 2014 at 7:22 AM
I eat a lot but really there is always some study out there saying this or that causes this and that
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by Platinum Member on Mar. 6, 2014 at 7:50 AM

i saw this on the news yesterday. i actually need to eat more meat.

by Laura on Mar. 6, 2014 at 8:39 AM
I eat a lot of meat, but I also eat a lot of vegetables. In my opinion, eating a balanced diet is more important than avoiding this food or that food.
by Deanna on Mar. 6, 2014 at 8:45 AM
I don't eat much red meat and neither does my dd. My DH and DS both eat lots.
by on Mar. 6, 2014 at 8:47 AM

 At almost ever meal! Meat, eggs, milk, cheese. I dont care what they say, gotta have mt animal protein!!

by Platinum Member on Mar. 6, 2014 at 8:53 AM

We have meat most nights, however kick in cheese milk eggs we are eating at almost every meal. I always LOVE how these story's say it increases your chance at death. Come on people EVERYONE'S has the same chance of death 100%. Not saying it wont kill you sooner but I just love how it is worded.

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