Your diet is like a bank account.
Good food choices are good investments. You should make sure that you eat smart
in order to keep fit. A well-planned balanced meal, which includes plenty of
fruits, vegetables, protein, carbohydrates and so on
that provides your body the nutrition it needs to
Why is protein important?
Protein is the major
component of all human cells such as bone and muscle. It is composed of
'building blocks' known as amino acids. 8 out of the total 22 amino acids are
considered as essential amino acids since our body cannot produce them and we
have to get them from the food we eat. It is important to eat the right kind
and amount of protein daily for proper growth, to keep your bones healthy, for
production of hormones and brain development.
are classified into animal and plant
proteins. Meat, cheese and eggs are examples of animal proteins which are also
known as primary proteins since they contain all eight essential amino acids
and are thought to be important for growth. Plant protein
sources are pulses, legumes, lentils, tofu and other soya products. They are
called as incomplete proteins because they don't contain all of the essential
amino acids. However,
is believed that when eaten in the right combination it is possible to get all
the essential amino acids, for example beans and grains complement each other
in their amino acid profiles when eaten together.
High protein diets such as Atkins diet
, South Beach diet, liquid protein
diet and others, have been extremely popular in the past for their quick
weight-loss results. These
diets allow consumption of unlimited amounts of all meat, poultry, fish, eggs
and most cheeses and cut down on amount of carbohydrates ingestion.
Study links high
protein intake to cancer and other diseases
to the latest study, which analyses the impact of protein consumption on
longevity, having a diet rich in meat, eggs, milk and cheese could be as
harmful to health as smoking. The risk is equivalent to the danger of developing cancer by smoking about
20 cigarettes each day. Research conducted in the past have shown a link
between cancer and red meat, but this is the first time research was done to
show the risk of death caused by regularly eating too much protein.
from the University of Southern California conducted a study and found that
people who ate a high protein diet were 74 percent more likely to die of any
cause within the study period as compared to people on low-protein diet. The
study also showed that they were many times more likely to die of diabetes.
This was found to be true for people below 65 years of age; however, this trend
appeared to be reverse for those above 65 years of age. The results of the study was
published in the journal Cell: Metabolism
researchers took pre-existing data
from one of the
largest national surveys of health and nutrition done in the United States
known as NHANES III. They studied about 6,300 people over the age of 50 and
followed them for 18 years, which included analyzing their death rates and
cause of death.
The three study groups were formed according to their protein intake:
- High - 20% or more of calories from
protein (1,146 people)
- Moderate - 10 to 19% of calories from
protein (4,798 people)
- Low - less than 10% of calories from
protein (437 people)
The study results were as follows:
- The study group who ate a
high-protein diet were found to be four times more likely to die from cancer,
and twice as likely to die from any cause.
- The group which consumed moderate
amounts of protein had a three-fold higher chance of dying of cancer.
- These effects were either reduced or
were not there at all in subjects whose high-protein diet was mainly
plant-based such as beans. The
probable reason for this is because proteins in plants have a different
composition, and don't stimulate growth hormones as efficiently as meat
- In subjects who were aged 65 and
opposite effect was seen. High protein intake in this age group was
linked to a 60% reduced risk of dying from cancer and a 28% reduced risk of
dying from any cause. Similar effects were observed in subjects with moderate
researchers felt that chicken, fish, pulses, vegetables, nuts and grains were
healthier sources of protein, however, a chicken breast or salmon fillet would
account for about 40 percent of recommended daily protein intake.
thought that the higher-protein intake and higher risk of death from cancer was
associated with higher insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) levels in the
subjects. Protein controls the growth hormone IGF-I, which helps bodies grow
but has been linked to cancer susceptibility.
It was also stipulated that the amino acids that proteins are made of could reduce cellular protection
and increase damage to DNA, both of which is a possible explanation as to why
high-protein intake is linked to cancer.
the lead researchers, Dr. Valter Longo said "We provide convincing evidence
that a high-protein diet - particularly if the proteins are derived from
animals - is nearly as bad as smoking for your health."
Longo also stated that the results of the study suggest that the Mediterranean
diet, which is low in animal protein and high in carbohydrates could be best
for extending life span.
Eileen Crimmins, a co-author of the study commented "The research shows that a
low-protein diet in middle age is useful for preventing cancer and overall
mortality. However, we also propose that at older ages, it may be important to
avoid a low-protein diet to allow the maintenance of healthy weight and
protection from frailty."
Gunter Kuhnle, who is a food nutrition scientist at the University of Reading
thought that it was potentially dangerous to compare effects of smoking to
effect of high intake of protein. He thought that this could be misinterpreted
by the public, especially the smokers who would not think of quitting smoking if
their protein loaded sandwich was equally unhealthy.
the experts in metabolic medicine from Glasgow University, Prof Naveed Saattar,
thought that the low-protein effect in older people could be due to "survival
bias", where those who reportedly lived longer are already generally healthier.
Tim Key, a Cancer Research UK epidemiologist, said: "Further research is needed
to establish whether there is any link between eating a high protein diet and
an increased risk of middle aged people dying from cancer."
All said and done, a balanced diet was still the
best option. There is no diet that will
do what eating healthy does. So eat right and take care of your body, after all
it is the only place you have to live.