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It's been making its rounds online these last few days, but Research from the University of Southern California shows that high levels of dietary animal protein in those under 65 was associated with a fourfold increase in their risk of death from cancer compared to those on a low protein diet.
I hate these kind of studies. I didn't look at the research, but usually they don't account for exercise, quality of meat, etc.
If it's an epidemiology study, for all we know, the meat eaters could be eating McDonald's and not lifting.
On average, subjects consumed 1,823 calories, of which the majority came from carbohydrates (51%), followed by fat (33%) and protein (16%), with most of it (11%) derived from animal protein. The percent of calorie intake from protein was used to categorize subjects into a high protein group (20% or more of calories from proteins), a moderate protein group (10%–19% of calories from proteins), and a low protein group (less than 10% of calories from proteins).
Wow, OK, high protein is 20%? Only 1800 calories? IMHO, would say this is irrelevant to the GLL community since we are fit and anyone doing any kind of weight training is consuming way more than their standard for a 'high protein' diet.
In comparison to smoking. . . a lot of things are equally as bad.
A diet coke in a plastic bottle is worse for you than a cigarette. Have 1 person smoke a pack of cigarettes a day for 10 years and another person drink 20 Diet Cokes a day for 10 years then examine them both. The smoker will likely be in better health. As far as high protein diets go, they are very unhealthy for your kidneys in the long run.
Studies can be fun to read. There are always weaknesses in any king of academic studies whether clinical or otherwise.
Sample size, especially in clinical work is normally low. Taking a small sample and extrapolating for the general public always has limited application. You have to make large assumptions as well as inferences that the sample represents the aggregate.
Despite this studies can be helpful in ways the authors do not expect. In this case they point out that deficiencies in growth hormone is bad and that increased protein can help increase growth hormone, which leads to the older group being better off than the younger of the 2 groups. So, is the problem protein intake or growth hormone deficiency due to the natural progression of aging.
The question arises is this a correlation without causation problem. As age, growth hormone and tumors/cancers are all correlated pointing to protein consumption as the cause is a very strong inference. There is a very large endogeneity and and simultaneity problem here.
Even if we assume away all the potential arguments with this study, you must look at your diet and consider what you would be substituting if you did not consume protein whether plant or animal derived.
What would you be replacing your protein and healthy fats with? More processed foods, raw fruits and vegetables, starches, cereal grains?
You will consume calories each day. Protein and fats make you feel fuller and do not impact your insulin levels in the same way as carbs, so when I eat higher protein and healthy fats I consume less calories and consume more green vegetables. When I include carbs I generally eat more calories and processed foods and less vegetables and I end up hungrier quicker leading to more consumption. People will compensate/substitute when eliminating certain foods from their daily intake. The question for me is would I rather eat low carb/high protein with healthy fats and more vegetables and obtain/maintain a lower body fat composition or go the other direction.
The question for you is what works for you and your body/metabolism/excercise regimen.
It all boils down to living healthy and finding foods that work for you that you can live with and still maintain a healthy and functioning body composition.
Kind of sad that journalists don't take the time to interpret scientific studies properly, but then again they aren't trained to... so I guess science needs to find a way to prevent this kind of thing and to communicate its results in simple, layman language.
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