New study reveals the reasons you should be wary of high-protein diets
You've been told over and over again if you want to get anywhere near a flat stomach or a six-pack, you have to watch what you eat - namely, up the protein and stay away from the pizza. Difficult to implement, but incredibly satisfying to achieve.
While you may have just gotten the hang of tracking your macros, you may need to stop, especially if you're a man of a certain age. A new study has found that middle-aged men who follow high-protein diets may be at higher risk of heart failure.
Middle-aged men who follow high-protein diets, such as the Atkins, keto or paleo diet may be at risk according to a study published in Circulation: Heart Failure, an American Heart Association journal. The experiment surveyed 2,441 men aged between 42 and 60 for an average period of 22 years. Over the course of the study, 334 cases of heart failure - when the body is unable to pump enough blood and oxygen to remain healthy - were diagnosed.
The researchers divided the participants into four groups based on the types of protein they consumed on a daily basis. They found that the men who ate the most animal protein and dairy were at a higher risk - 43 percent and 49 percent respectively - of developing heart failure than those who ate the least.
The men who ate all sources of protein were at a 33 percent higher risk, while those who consumed plant protein had a 17 percent risk. The study doesn't indicate, however, if the plant protein is strictly natural (vegetables, legumes, etc) or down to supplements as well.
Higher intake of protein from most dietary sources was associated with slightly higher risk, the researchers said, adding that only proteins from fish and eggs were not associated with heart failure risk in this study.
"As many people seem to take the health benefits of high protein diets for granted, it is important to make clear the possible risks and benefits of these diets," said Dr Jyrki Virtanen, study author and an adjunct professor of nutritional epidemiology at the University of Eastern Finland.
He added that earlier studies have linked diets high in protein - especially from animal sources - with increased risks of Type 2 diabetes and even death. A lot of people take the concept of a high protein diet and run away with it, eating ridiculous things that are nowhere near healthy.
The authors of the study concluded that as there is currently little research on the link between dietary protein and heart failure risk, further research is needed before they can say that moderating protein intake would help to prevent it.
A separate study that was recently presented at the World Congress on Acute Heart Failure in Vienna found that eating protein can help patients with heart failure to live longer - quite the opposite result.
As with most studies, several of them need to be done to really cement the theories they hypothesize. While it's accuracy is still debated, do your best to eat a balanced diet or seek medical help if you decided to embark on a trendy diet.