Think twice before you pick up that hamburger or glass of milk. According to a new study that tracked a large number of adults for almost two decades, eating a high-protein diet could be as deadly as smoking cigarettes. While some people use high-protein diets—such as Atkins or Paleo—for short-term weight loss, they may have negative effects on health as you get older.
While some people are concerned about not getting enough protein, a new study shows that we may have too much. The study, published in Cell Metabolism on March 4, shows that middle-aged people who eat a diet high in animal proteins from milk, meat and cheese are four times more likely to die of cancer than someone who eats a low-protein diet a mortality risk factor comparable to smoking.
Researchers looked at 6,318 adults over the age of 50, over a span of 18 years. On average, about 16 percent of their total daily calories came from protein. Two-thirds of that amount was from animal protein. The percent of calorie intake from protein was used to categorize subjects into a high protein group (20% or more of calories from proteins), a moderate protein group (10%-19% of calories from proteins), and a low protein group (less than 10% of calories from proteins).
The study …
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