In order to add more years to your life, a person should give up high-protein diet, particularly animal protein, during middle age as this increases the chance of death due to cancer by four times, claims a new study.
On the other side, people over 65 years should switch to a high-protein diet, especially sourced from animals, as this makes them strong and protects from diseases.
Researchers said following a high-protein diet in middle age was equivalent to smoking 20 cigarettes a day. The study suggested that such a diet also increased the risk of death due to diabetes by several times.
"There's a misconception that because we all eat, understanding nutrition is simple. But the question is not whether a certain diet allows you to do well for three days, but can it help you survive to be 100?" said study co-author Valter Longo, Edna M. Jones professor of biogerontology at the USC Davis School of Gerontology and director of the USC Longevity Institute in Los Angeles.
The study, published in Cell Metabolism, said that people who included more of animal protein in diet, such as meat, milk and cheese, had 74 per cent more chance of dying of any reason compared to their peers who consumed low-protein diet.
Longo said many middle-aged people across the globe were consuming two-three times as much protein as they require. And this protein is mostly sourced from animal instead of coming from plant-based foods like nuts, seeds and beans.
Researchers found that protein controls growth hormone IGF-I. The hormone is responsible for our growth but is also linked to cancer. So if the hormone level goes up, the risk of getting cancer also goes up. In people after 65 years, this hormone level drops, causing frailty and muscle loss. Thus, intake of moderate or high-protein diet after 65 helped people get stronger and stay away from diseases.