Two recently completed studies indicate that a high protein diet may be risky for middle-aged folks. It is believed that it significantly increases the risk of dying from chronic diseases such as cancer or diabetes. The studies, published in the Cell Metabolism journal, show that low-protein diets may be better for longer and healthier lives.
High-protein diets may help to lose weight in the short-term, but according to the study, they can be damaging to your health and wellness, and may even decrease your lifespan in the long-term.
Valter Longo, who led a research team at the University of Southern California, discovered the risk of dying from diabetes and cancer was increased in middle-aged adults on high protein diets, but older adults can benefit from consuming a moderate amount of protein. In another study, a team of researchers led by Stephen Simpson, from the University of Sydney in Australia,concludes that a carbohydrate-rich diet that is low in protein may be better for health and longevity.
Both studies show that it is not only the calories that are important, but also the amount and type of protein that is consumed. Prof Longo concluded that the high protein diet may be as bad as smoking.
The study included the evaluation of the diets and health of more than 6,800 US adults, and researchers discovered that people who were at least 50 years old were at a 400 percent higher risk of dying from diabetes or cancer, and they were twice as likely to be dead within the following 18 years, if they consumed a high protein diet.
Those that consumed only moderate amounts of protein, the risk of dying from cancer and diabetes was reduced to 300 percent, and those who consumed plant-based proteins, the risks were virtually eliminated The research indicated that the high protein diet may be more risky for middle-aged adults, but surprisingly, the study also found that participants who were at least 60 years old, were at a lowered risk with a high-protein diet which was classified as a diet where at least 20 percent of the caloric intake was derived from proteins.
The researchers believe that the growth factor IGF-1, and growth hormone may be responsible for these findings. The study of the activity of certain cells show that amino acids in the proteins may interfere with the cell protection, leading to damage of the DNA .
For the second study, conducted with mice, Prof. Simpson and discovered that mice on the high-protein diets had lower levels of body fat, and ate less, but had lower metabolisms and less healthy hearts and died sooner.
The healthiest, mice were those on the low-protein and high carbohydrate diets, despite the fact that they consumed more calories and had higher body-fat levels.
Although the study was conducted in mice, Prof Simpson says that shows definitively that there is a significant of difference that can be attribute to the type of calories consumed.
Other researchers, such as Frank Hu of Harvard have reported similar results, and the common denominator appears to be the high-protein diet that may increase the health risks of middle-aged adults.
By Dale Davidson