High-Protein Diet Criticism is Denied by Proponents of Low-Carb Diets

high-proteinA recent study, which severely criticizes the effectiveness of high-protein diets in delivering longer, healthier lives, is being strongly refuted by proponents of low-carb diets. Those who support low-carb diets usually rely heavily on protein for energy and calories and find this new research threatening, and misleading, to the public’s view of the low-carb diet, which they stand behind as a great way to get in shape and become healthier.

Such diets as Paleo, Atkins and Ketogenic have tried to debunk this new research presented by the university of Southern California, which took 18 years to compile and says that the consumption of animal protein in large quantities, along with cheeses, can quadruple your risk of getting cancer if you are middle aged. The study also says that taking in “lots of animal protein and cheese… is as bad as smoking 20 cigarettes a day.”

However, advocates for Paleo and Atkins point out that this study did not consider the total amount of carbs in the diet. They also say that these researchers have confused “correlation with causation,” and that it is actually high-carb diets which cause people to gain weight and contribute to the onset of cancer cells, dementia, hear disease and can be a major factor leading to early death. They believe that this study is extraordinarily inconclusive because it did not control the experimentation for a high-carb diet, which means it could very well have been the large amount of carbs that contributed to these risks.

The research in this study was published on March 4th in Cell Metabolism, a medical journal devoted to a cells consumption of energy. The study also said that those on a high-protein diet had a 74% greater chance of dieing early that a person on a low-protein diet. The study was conducted tracking 6,318 adults who were over the age of 50 for nearly two decades.

“We provide convincing evidence that a high-protein diet, particularly if the proteins are derived from animals is nearly as bad as smoking,” said the lead author on this study, Dr. Valter D. Longo. Longo works at the USC Davis School of Gerontology where he works as a cell biologist and a biogentrologist.

Supporters of the Paleo diet say that there diet does not promote the consumption of milk or cheese and that if you eat a lot of carbs in conjunction with your protein then these symptoms can be expected. Atkins also says that their diet is actually moderate-protein, but low-carb and high-fat. Linda O’Bryne, Atkins’ chief nutritionist says that low-carb diets do not necessarily mean high-protein diets. She says that Atkins recommends its users only take 25% of their calories from proteins which, she says, is not in conjunction with the diets used in the published study.

Although Paleo and Atkins are not all meat diets, they have been noticeably upset about the published information which they believe is not accurate and is wrongfully threatening the viability of their diet plans. However, this new study, which shows high-protein diets as being as dangerous as smoking, will certainly be food for thought for many Americans considering slimming down and choosing low-carb methods.

By Nick Manai


Cell Metabolism

USC Davis

One Response to "High-Protein Diet Criticism is Denied by Proponents of Low-Carb Diets"

  1. ivor cummins   March 9, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    The authors of this protein study failed to include their supplemental data, but I did find it and carried out a brief analysis; unless I’m missing something (unlikely), this Study is far worse than the average epidemiological one. That is because it seems that it’s not just poor in the claims made without proper causation being proved – in fact they should have known from the data that their conclusions were effectively impossible to claim. See my brief analysis below, and if you have a basic scientific, engineering or statistical background, you can decide for yourself:


    Best Regards
    Ivor Cummins


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