Want to meat your maker? Keep up that high protein diet
March 5th, 2014
09:45 AM ET
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Eating a high-protein diet in middle age could increase your risk of diabetes and cancer, according to a study published this week in the journal Cell Metabolism. But don't stay away from meat for too long – the same study showed those over 65 need more protein to reduce their mortality risk.


Insulin-like growth factor 1, or IGF-1, is a protein in your body related to growth and development. Past studies have linked IGF-1 to age-related diseases, including cancer. Mice and humans with higher levels of IGF-1 often have a higher risk of developing these diseases.

Scientists believe protein intake plays a role in IGF-1 activity. Eating less protein, studies have shown, can lead to lower levels of IGF-1 in your body. So theoretically, protein consumption could be directly linked to disease incidence and death.

Read - Middle-aged? Put down the meat

soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Accountkiller

    So, is it meat that should be limited or protein? I have switch to vegetarianism, and the soy I eat (e.g. TVP) is very high in protein.

    The idea of chewing flesh has always nauseated me, so I'm finally making the transition away from eating animals.

    March 23, 2014 at 7:51 pm |
    • gopisphucdup

      It is not just meat, as the title suggests, it is all animal protein (as the picture suggests).

      March 27, 2014 at 7:55 pm |
      • gopisphucdup

        Of course, moderation is the key. But, then, if your diet is high in animal protein, you are not practicing moderation.

        March 27, 2014 at 8:01 pm |
  2. Weeds

    If I followed every bit of advice gleaned from scientific studies, I'd flat starve to death if I didn't die of thirst first.
    Water kills, I hope you know that.

    March 7, 2014 at 3:31 pm |
    • AleeD®

      Beware dihydrogen monoxide ...

      March 7, 2014 at 4:27 pm |
  3. jasoncholewa

    Please look deeper into the raw data and the researchers motives before buying into the suggestions and conclusions.

    The original study this article was based upon had some serious methodological flaws. Briefly:
    A 24 hour dietary recall was used to classify subjects and then they were followed for 18 years. Is it possible their diets changed over that time?

    Next, the work in humans was correlative and observational. It was not an intervention or controlled study. All we can conclude is there is a relationship.

    Most importantly is the authors statistical analysis of the data and their interpretation. If we look at the raw data we see that the rate of cancer across the low, medium, and high protein groups was actually 9.8, 10.1, and 9.0%, respectively. There is no difference. However, the authors did some funky math to come up with this huge difference.

    In mice, there was no difference in the rate of cancer growth between the vegan protein (soy) and the animal protein (casein); however, the authors claim there was a "non-significant trend" but they do not report the probability value. If we look at the graph, it is barely discernible and does not exceed the standard deviation.

    Why then might the researchers make their conclusions off this lack of evidence? Its quite simple, the senior researcher, V. D. Luongo is the founder and has equity in L-Nutra, a Vegan Based Nutrition System. Luongo designed the study, obtained funding, and played a major role in the writing of the manuscript. This is a serious conflict of interest, and we should hold the publisher of the study, Cellular Metabolism, and their peer reviewers responsible for not identifying these issues. If you want to read more about it you can here at my objective critical analysis.

    March 6, 2014 at 6:02 pm |
    • Thinking things through

      Exactly. I figure if I ditch the non-nutrient-dense starches, and added sugars, I'll do fine, thank you. And minimize those ingredients no one saw in their food 100 years ago. No really intensive study has been done on this, but hey, I'll volunteer choosing my own diet along these grounds.

      March 6, 2014 at 6:40 pm |
      • Thinking things through

        (Which won't make for a true scientific study, either, but at least I'll know what I am eating... and considering my far better triglyceride and LDL levels since I gave up most non-nutritional starches - I am personally sticking with my eating plan...)

        March 6, 2014 at 6:47 pm |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

      Food for thought

      March 8, 2014 at 6:44 am |
  4. teleskier12

    Moderation is key. Also choosing the right meat. Organic grass fed meats will benefit you a lot more than the hormone, antibiotic laden, diseased meats from factory farms. Also it's more ethical and sustainable. Cut your meat portion in half and fill your plate with green vegetables and whole grains. Enjoy a long healthy life.


    March 5, 2014 at 4:03 pm |
    • Thinking things through

      Agreed. They need to specify protein sources in these things.

      March 5, 2014 at 6:00 pm |
  5. Mark L

    Eat what you want. No one lives forever

    March 5, 2014 at 1:52 pm |
  6. Truth™

    I see what you did there...

    March 5, 2014 at 10:42 am |
  7. kadiravc

    Reblogged this on kadirr56.

    March 5, 2014 at 10:14 am |
  8. Ryan Goodman

    Every week, seems like it's a new study that tells us eating too much (or too little) of [insert food or drink category] will kill us (or make us live longer). Death is inevitable. It might be a good idea just to consume it all in moderation and enjoy being able to have something to eat...

    March 5, 2014 at 10:10 am |
    • JellyBean

      Amen to that, my friend.

      March 6, 2014 at 8:01 am |
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