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Too much protein is not good for your heart, says new study

Do you think that high-protein foods are good for you? Think again. A new study claims that too much of them can lead to increased risks of heart failure.
( Steve Buissinne | Pixabay )

A group of researchers wanted to examine the long-term effects of one of the most popular diets in society and observed the eating habits of more than 2400 Finnish men over more than 20 years.

What they found ate high-protein diet is not completely harmless as once thought. High-protein foods have been at the center of controversy in recent years. Some people think that eating large amounts of protein is a good idea ̵

1; after all, it is one of the building blocks of muscle development. However, some studies say that too much of it is not beneficial to one's health, especially in the long run.

Protein May Lead to Poor Heart Function

This new study, published by the American Heart Association in the Circulation: Heart Failure Journal, belongs to the latter category: The researchers found that men who consume high-protein diets are at a slightly higher risk of developing heart disease in middle age

protein they have eaten. They were asked to complete questionnaires on their diet for four days at the beginning of the study, and then they were followed for 22 years. The researchers divided them into four groups, from lowest to highest protein intake, and correlated these with cardiac events, of which 334 occurred during the study. Finally, they looked at how the protein affects cardiac risk.

The men who consumed the most protein were 33 percent more likely to have heart failure than those with the lowest protein intake. However, the type of protein was included in the study in an interesting way. The risk of heart failure increased to 43 percent in men who consumed animal protein, to 48 percent of those who ingested milk protein, and then dropped to 17 percent among those who ate vegetable protein. It is important to note that for plant protein the relationship was not significant, which means that it was random.

Protein from fish and egg was not associated with an increased risk of heart failure. This is no surprise – fish with omega fatty acids are known to have health benefits, and a recent study claims that eating an egg daily can reduce the risk of heart disease.

According to lead author Jyrki Virtanen, it's important to know the potential risks and dangers of high-protein diets, as their benefits are often taken for granted.

"Earlier studies had high protein intake – especially from animal sources – associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and even death," he explains

Loose Ends

even though the researchers found clear evidence that protein intake affects heart health, the study lacks clear answers to many questions. For example, it is not yet certain how amino acids rich in animal protein often lead to poor heart health. Unmated is also why fermented foods like cheese are worse for the health of the heart than unfermented ones like milk. These are blind spots that could be further investigated in future studies.

For the time being, the results could play a crucial role as countries, especially those where protein intake is high, implement health policies.

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