SMOKINCHOICES (and other musings)

March 6, 2014

Protein study answer

Latest study

Too much protein linked to early death


Could too much protein put you on the path toward an early grave?

For middle-age people who consume lots of meat, milk and cheese, the answer could be a resounding yes, according to a new study published yesterday in the journal Cell Metabolism.

U.S. and Italian researchers tracked thousands of adults for nearly two decades and found that those who ate a diet high in animal proteins during middle age were four times more likely to die of cancer than contemporaries with low-protein diets — a risk factor comparable to smoking.

  • They also were several times more likely to die of diabetes, and nearly twice as likely to die early in general.

“The great majority of Americans could reduce their protein intake,” said one of the study’s co-authors, Valter Longo, a University of Southern California gerontology professor and director of the school’s Longevity Institute. “The best change would be to lower the daily intake of all proteins, but especially animal-derived proteins.”

But even as researchers warned of the health risks of high-protein diets in middle age, they said eating more protein actually could be a smart move for people older than 65.

“At older ages, it may be important to avoid a low-protein diet to allow the maintenance of healthy weight and protection from frailty,” another co-author, USC gerontology professor Eileen Crimmins, said in a release detailing the findings.

  • Exactly how much protein belongs in the average diet has proved to be a topic of perpetual debate, one complicated by popular diets such as Atkins and Paleo, which rely heavily on animal-based proteins to help people shed weight.

While such diets might succeed in the short term, Longo said, they could be leading to worse health down the road.

Part of the confusion, he argues, is that researchers too often have treated adulthood as a single period of life rather than closely examining the many ways in which our bodies change as we grow older. In studying data about protein intake over many years, he says, the picture becomes clearer: What’s good for you at one age might be harmful at another.

In the study published yesterday (3-4-14), researchers defined a “high-protein” diet as one in which at least 20 percent of calories came from protein; a “low-protein” diet was defined as less than 10 percent. They found that even moderate amounts of protein consumption among middle-age people had detrimental effects over time, a result that held true across ethnic, educational and health backgrounds.

Longo said many middle-age Americans, along with an increasing number of people around the world, are eating twice and sometimes three times as much protein as they need, with too much of that coming from animals rather than plant-based foods such as nuts, seeds and beans.

  • He said adults in middle age would be better off following the advice of several top health agencies to consume about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight each day — roughly 55 grams for a 150-pound person, or the equivalent of an 8-ounce piece of meat or several cups of dry beans.

(My Comment: 

We know how experts keep changing rules, making us react like puppets on a string —  I say, lets wait a while and see how it all falls out. 

Tho I must say there is nothing unseemly in this article —  it sounds reasonable to me.  But then, I was predisposed to the vegan diet and was happy on it for some years, even as some expressed concern for my well being.  But they were often from the camp of athleticism and physicality with a different  emphasis on strength  which by its very nature demanded more protein than I ever believed to be necessary. Primarily in the head, I never liked exercise, tho I have done it and at this point, I regard it as a little late in the day for me to change much now.  I accepted it when Dr McDougall taught that there is protein in all food, that we could survive beautifully on the plant world. 

Have often spoken of listening to one’s body [sensing the needs].  Have been paying attention quite some time now to discovering how I can acquire what I need by eating the foods which contain those nutrients in order to not be so dependent on supplements.  Have been realizing I seem to have a natural affinity for much of what my body does indeed need, like garlic, can never get too much garlic [goes in almost everything but the coffee]. And  I  truly love my veggies and the juicing that I do [even tho I tire of the chore of doing it at times]  I rarely crave meat, but when I do, I get it and enjoy that too. Usually have Hippocrates soup in the frig and I make it loaded with Turmeric [nothing is healthier].  . . .just sayin’    

So animal protein or proteins from our plant world — its kinda one’s choice, isn’t it? We have to  be ethically in agreement with our choices.  Our table must be pleasing to our palate and our wallet.  There should be pleasure associated with it.  So if one’s toes curl with a little chocolate or ice cream occasionally so be it.  No room for guilt in my house for that is a destroyer of joy.  There are real things to worry about like the crappy stuff that happens to so much of what we call food. .  Be solicitous of getting the purest of anything you choose to buy, use the noggin to get the best you can — we deserve it.  Buy only fresh and wholesome, organic if possible, and for God’s sake and yours — do your own cooking or assembling — don’t buy boxes or cans or manufactured anything.  Everything’s gonna be okay.    Jan)_


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