Too much protein may lead to the same health risks as smoking, according to a new study.
A new study suggests that middle-aged people consuming high volumes of meats and cheeses may face equally harmful health risks seen in people who smoke cigarettes.
A study, published in the journal Cell Metabolism, focused on men and women aged 50 and older. According to the report, individuals consuming high levels of animal protein are nearly twice as likely to die early as subjects consuming lower amounts. Participants of the study who consumed high volumes of animal protein were also more than four times as likely to die from forms of cancer, a figure which experts say is comparable to regular smokers.
Researchers say that the proteins commonly found in meats, cheeses and other animal products feed tumors and propel the aging of cells in the body. Researchers suggest that people ages 50 and older reduce the amount of animal proteins they consume and turn to foods like beans, lentils and even fish as a healthy source of protein.
Researchers suspect weight conscious individuals who turn to high-protein diets, such as Atkins, as a means of losing weight, will need to find alternative diets to achieve a slimmer frame. However, the results of the study also found that animal protein had the opposite effect in people over age of 65.
“We studied simple organisms, mice and humans, and provide convincing evidence that a high- protein diet – particularly if the proteins are derived from animals – is nearly as bad as smoking for your health,” said Valter Longo, a professor at the University of Southern California.
Another study recently released in US government health survey showed that individuals who had a high protein diet where one-fifth of a person’s daily caloric intake were from protein, were more likely to die prematurely. The study also found that even minimal amounts of animal protein intake were harmful to health as well.
The results from the studies suggest that people refrain from heavy animal protein diets, turning to alternative, plant-based protein sources until reaching retirement age, at which animal protein consumption appeared to yield no negative health effects.