Is protein bad for you?

An American study (PDF, 660KB) has reported that eating too much protein could be bad for middle-aged people. This study included 6,381 adults aged 50 and over from NHANES III – a nationally representative U.S. study. They were followed for 20 years.

The research found those aged 50–65 reporting high protein intake had a 75% increase in overall mortality and a 4-fold increase in cancer death risk during the following 18 years. The researchers define a "high-protein" diet as getting at least 20%of daily calories from protein. These associations were eliminated or significantly reduced if the proteins were plant derived. These results were reversed in those aged 65+ where high protein intakes actually lowered the chance of death.

It is important to remember that this is just one study and so not enough to draw a conclusion. In addition assessment of protein intake was based on a single 24hr dietary recall. The participants were followed up with a mortality assessment 18 years later however no additional dietary data was collected over those 18 years.

Current healthy eating guidelines in the ROI and NI recommend two servings of protein per day. A serving includes 50-75g cooked lean beef, pork, chicken; 100g cooked oily fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines); 2 eggs; 100g soya of tofu; 125g hummus or 6 dessertspoons of peas, beans or lentils. These guidelines are based on a wealth of international studies showing this quantity to be beneficial for health and maintaining muscle mass. 

Posted: 07/03/2014 12:35:05 by Laura Keaver


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