Atkins advocates, take note.
Middle-aged men who pile on the protein could be at greater risk for heart failure than those who don’t, warns a new study published on Tuesday by the American Heart Association.
To examine the hazards of a high-protein diet, researchers followed 2,441 men between the ages of 42 and 60, each for an average of 22 years. They found that those who ate diets rich in meat and dairy protein were at a higher risk for developing heart disease than others who consumed plenty of fish, plant proteins (like beans and soy) and even eggs.
These results run against the common belief, popularized by fad-diet forerunner Dr. Robert Atkins more than 40 years ago, that low-carb, high-protein diets are a healthful way to sustain weight loss.
Experts are beginning to question the wisdom of typical, sedentary folks guzzling down protein shakes and noshing on protein bars to stave off hunger.
Last week, the BBC published a report showing that most people consume too much protein relative to their activity levels, and that low-carbohydrate diets can actually have a negative effect on gut health.
Earlier this month, another study indicated that eating calorie-dense foods such as pasta, potatoes and rice can — surprisingly — promote weight loss, by helping dieters feel full for longer periods of time.
The American Heart Association study’s authors say there’s more research to be done on the connection between high-protein diets and heart failure.
However, it doesn’t look good for middle-aged men who gorge on burgers and bacon instead of whole grains and veggies.
“As many people seem to take the health benefits of high-protein diets for granted, it is important to make clear the possible risks,” says study author Dr. Jyrki Virtanen via press release.
“Earlier studies had linked diets high in protein — especially from animal sources — with increased risks of Type 2 diabetes and even death.”
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