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Too much red meat bad for health

Long-term adherence to higher protein intakes without distinguishing between the sources of the protein may increase the risk of dying from heart disease.

Too much red meat bad for health

When it comes to high protein diets and health, the source of the protein really does matter. The main finding was that animal as compared to vegetable sources of protein seems to have a different effect on dying from heart disease. Protein from different sources seems to have different health effects. Long-term adherence to higher protein intakes without distinguishing between the sources of the protein may increase the risk of dying from heart disease. Researchers from the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, USA, interviewed 30,000 postmenopausal women about their eating and lifestyle habits, then followed them for 15 years, noting who died and of what cause. All of the women were free of cancer, heart disease and diabetes at the beginning of the study. The researchers found that women who most often ate vegetable protein in place of carbohydrates and animal protein were 30 percent less likely to die of heart disease. But the more red meat and dairy products women substituted for carbohydrates, the more their risk of heart disease increased. Overall, opting for protein over carbohydrates had no significant influence on the risk of dying from any cause. The researchers explained that it's still unclear why our hearts like vegetable proteins better than animal proteins. It's possible that vegetable proteins contain different building blocks, minerals or antioxidants that are good for our bodies. Vegetable proteins could also contain substances that affect hormones in healthier ways. It is recommended that people who want to follow high protein diets should stick with vegetable proteins such as tofu, nuts and peanut butter, or healthier meats like chicken or fish. With high protein diets a now-popular eating style, few studies have examined their long-term health effects, and whether different sources of protein make a difference.
American Journal of Epidemiology,
February 2005
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