"High-protein diet 'as bad for health as smoking'."

(41 Posts)
HerGraciousMajTheBeardedPotato Wed 05-Mar-14 16:15:51


I note that they only mention "high-protein", and not any other aspect of diet.

Interested to hear other low-carbers' views.

Just a sensational title. The caveats and explanations at the bottom from other scientists dispute it or offer other explanations.

If I had to guess I would think that a cheap high protein diet consisting of red meat/sausages is much less likely to be healthy than salmon etc.

MarshaBrady Wed 05-Mar-14 16:29:32

Someone alerted me about this today. I assume it was this. Am interested to see what others think.

NatashaBee Wed 05-Mar-14 16:38:54

It depends on the sort of protein they mean though. 50oz steaks every night, or someone who eats nuts, small amounts of cheese and white meats?

HerGraciousMajTheBeardedPotato Wed 05-Mar-14 18:04:59

I'd like to know a bit more about the science behind it. How did they control for other lifestyle factors? What about other aspects of the diet? Was this a retrospective study, depending on people's recall of their diets over their lifetimes?

HerGraciousMajTheBeardedPotato Wed 05-Mar-14 18:07:35

They're talking about animal protein, with red meat being 'the worst'. They say that high intake of vegetable protein is not associated with any increased mortality.

(Going from memory - unable to re-read the article right now.)

lots of low carb diet advice includes not overdoing the protein - limiting to around 1-1.5g protein per kg weight or something like that. this is probably to do with gluconeogenesis rather than the health aspects suggested by the research. i'm not sure that citing atkins as a high protein diet is necessarily accurate

for low carb diet the focus should be on increasing the proportion of fat intake

it's also not clear to me whether they are differentiating between processed and fresh meat, because there are already lots of studies linking processed meat to increased cancer risk, and many low carb advocates suggest keeping the processed meat to a minimum

this is the original article. i'm not sure whether it's open access - i have access through work

CoteDAzur Wed 05-Mar-14 18:19:04

What kind of protein and how is it cooked?

Surely eating eggs and poached salmon isn't the same as grilled/charred steak every day in this respect.

RegainingUnconsciousness Wed 05-Mar-14 18:25:08

This link has been suggested before. They are also careful to note it's animal protein in particular. There are many other good reasons to cut meat intake - from a sustainability perspective as well as health.

We don't need to eat meat every day. I don't think there's a problem with the reporting of this research (in the articles I've read - the guardian is pretty lighthearted about it). And I am convinced that the high-protein weight loss diets can't be good. But then, I don't eat much meat anyway, so I would say that!

This is interesting:

"Previous studies in the U.S. have found that a low carbohydrate diet is associated with an increase in overall mortality and showed that when such a diet is from animal-based products, the risk of overall as well as cancer mortality is increased even further (Fung et al., 2010 and Lagiou et al., 2007). Our study indicates that high levels of animal proteins, promoting increases in IGF-1 and possibly insulin, is one of the major promoters of mortality for people age 50–65 in the 18 years following the survey assessing protein intake."

so insulin is cited as a possible factor in the increase in mortality risk, which would chime with my post above about gluconeogenesis

perrinelli Wed 05-Mar-14 18:27:10

I was wondering how the risks compare to the risks associated with being obese? I think the best way for me to avoid being obese is by eating a high protein/high fat/low carb diet. Surely eating high protein doesn't have as much risk as being obese?

with any research that says 'increases the risk by x%' you have to watch how you interpret that. from the telegraph article:

"people who eat a diet rich in animal protein are four times more likely to die of cancer than someone with a low protein diet"

well that might mean that the risk goes from 1 in 1000000000000 to 4 in 1000000000000, which may be a risk you're prepared to take

(not saying that those are the actual numbers, just demonstrating)

CoteDAzur Wed 05-Mar-14 18:52:42

And 'low carb diet' is not necessarily the same thing as 'high protein diet'.

lottieandmia Wed 05-Mar-14 18:58:15

I'm doing the Atkins diet and you are recommended not to eat too much protein because the diet doesn't even work if you do this.

JemimaJones Thu 06-Mar-14 14:52:03

I tend to eat a diet that is mainly chicken, fish, some beef and fruit salad and vegetables but not many potatoes. I eat nuts and seeds, real butter, olive oil, homemade icecream and good quality dark chocolate as treats. I avoid manufactured food and carbs. I feel really good when I eat like this but if I have some bread or cakes then they have to be amazing smile

JemimaJones Thu 06-Mar-14 14:55:21

Sorry my point was that I don't think a diet high in protein is good but neither are a lot of carbs.

BIWI Sat 08-Mar-14 18:03:55

Here's Zoe Harcombe's take on the study It makes for interesting reading!

HerGraciousMajTheBeardedPotato Sat 08-Mar-14 23:58:28

Very intrtesting. Thanks. Bears out my suspicion that tis study is not relevant to low carbers.

BIWI Sun 09-Mar-14 11:20:38

Well yes - and remember, low carb isn't high protein, it's high fat. The proportions of protein are the same as in the 'recommended' diet. Instead of eating carbs:protein:fat, we eat fat:protein:carbs.

ppeatfruit Thu 13-Mar-14 08:43:27

I reckon a lot of it is down to your Blood Type; author Dr. Peter D'Adamo. Because O types are good with meat (not pork though) no one is good with pork or pork products.

So A types like me are ill on high protein diets like Atkins and 0 types do well on it.

Sorry i'm no good at links but D' Adamo has the stats to prove that heavy meat eating A types die younger than others. E.g. Bob Crow.

Lottieandmia Thu 13-Mar-14 09:34:44

That's interesting. I'm blood type A and I feel quite sick afore being on Atkins for at about 2 months. I don't think it suits me which is a shame.

Lottieandmia Thu 13-Mar-14 09:35:29

Ppeatfruit - which plan are you following? Maybe I should try that instead.

Lottieandmia Thu 13-Mar-14 09:38:36

It's interesting. I was fine with Atkins at first but now it's like my body cannot take any more of it.

ppeatfruit Thu 13-Mar-14 10:24:23

What i follow is the Paul Mckenna way Of Eating (which is revolutionary because it focuses on HOW we eat) I got to my target small vanity size 10 and I'm maintaining.

But I also follow the Blood Type (as above) for my health. Food combining makes sense to me too (not eating heavy protein with carbs at the same meal).

I know it's traditional but IMO and E (living on hamburgers etc) makes people fat and ill

Lottieandmia Thu 13-Mar-14 10:48:52

I am very good at staying focused and do not give up easily but I have developed a multitude of health problems - eczema, my face swelled up and my IBS has been so bad I've had to take to my bed. And the whole reason I did this in the first place was so that I could have more energy and just lose a few pounds.

ppeatfruit Thu 13-Mar-14 10:56:01

aaah that sounds like your body isn't liking it. You got more energy though didn't you?

Have a look at the blood type ,If you're an AB you could well be allergic to avocadoes and chicken and olives! I used to have eczema but when I stopped having fresh orange juice and tomatoes I got better!

Lottieandmia Thu 13-Mar-14 11:19:38

I did get more energy to start with and I particularly like the way it made my waist go right in, but I can't go on like this!

I'm group A, not AB but I am very, very allergic to avocados however. If I eat them I am extremely ill for at least 12 hours even if it's a tiny bit.

ppeatfruit Thu 13-Mar-14 11:37:51

Oh so you need to look at cutting your animal protein intake rather than Atkins! A lot people become allergic to foods that are ok eat on the Blood Type but because your gut is used to the 'wrong' environment you get weird reactions. I'm ok with Avoes but not every day.

I tried Atkins and felt shxx immediately! you can have fish and a little white meat, lentils,tofu eggs (not too many though) but we all need to eat fruit and fresh veg. (not deadly nightshade veg. though).

Lottieandmia Thu 13-Mar-14 11:40:12

I have a feeling cream is a problem for me as well. I have always eaten the recommended amounts of veg.

ppeatfruit Thu 13-Mar-14 12:15:48

Yes dairy products are an avoid for us (our bodies know!) I have soya,rice or almond milk and\or cream. There is a good variety of non dairy products now.

I always used to get bags under my eyes from dairy !Soya cappuccinos are frothier than dairy milk they're lush grin

ppeatfruit Thu 13-Mar-14 12:17:52

I take turmeric if i've been getting hay fever type symptoms from having dairy it works amazingly well.

CoteDAzur Thu 13-Mar-14 12:38:12

D'Adamo's blood type diet book is laughed at, chiefly because it is based on intuition & anecdotes - i.e. no science whatsoever - and also because he is so wrong on the stuff he does base his theory on. Like, he thinks Type O is the oldest blood type. It isn't. Type A is.

Fine if reading his book led you to eat healthier etc but please don't promote that 'naturopath's theory as if it has any basis in reality.

It may be laughed at by many scientists and indeed not work for many people Cote, but there has to be some sense in the way that eating how your ancestors have done, according to the food available around them and custom, avoiding those that are relatively new, can work for a body?...the diet certainly seems to work for many people so who is to say it is nonsense? Nutritional science is in its infancy, there are contradictory theories on everything. Calories is vs calories out is held up as the be all and end all and slowly it is becoming evident that it is so much more complicated than this. Fat was bad bad bad not so long ago and that is changing too, so don't be so fast to decry any WOE that works for some people....

ppeatfruit Thu 13-Mar-14 13:09:46

You are right Sleepwhenidie There is a lot of sense in it. There is an MNer who is a proper scientist who's on it her name is Thumbwitch .

It would be a threat to all the huge industries who make money out of our bad health so they have to laugh at it Cote. I know that Iam the healthiest person of my age (and younger) that I know and I have followed it for many years.

CoteDAzur Thu 13-Mar-14 21:40:38

It is laughed at because there is no scientific basis for it and the author's 'knowledge' is laughable. And it's all about anecdotes, not studies.

"there has to be some sense in the way that eating how your ancestors have done"

Well, I am eating as my ancestors have done - a diet rich in meat and yoghurt, with a variety of vegetable dishes prepared in the traditional way with olive oil.

And yet, according to the blood type guy I should be a vegetarian hmm

"the diet certainly seems to work for many people so who is to say it is nonsense?"

Of course it will "work" if you start with a bad diet and start eating more vegetables, cutting out processed food. That doesn't mean he is right in saying different blood types should have different diets and I should be a vegetarian. He is actually impressively wrong about some of his assumptions.

"Nutritional science is in its infancy, there are contradictory theories on everything"

It sounds like you would enjoy Ben Goldacre's book Bad Science. Don't ask why, just read it. You will see what I mean.

Lottieandmia Thu 13-Mar-14 21:53:32

Surely everyone is different and some people react differently to different foods than others. I am sure there is far more to it than blood type alone.

I did Atkins perfectly. As I said I am very disciplined. I followed it to the letter. I am very disappointed it doesn't suit me because the way that I lost weight left me with a much better shape than usual.

ppeatfruit Fri 14-Mar-14 07:44:18

Cote if you actually READ it you'll find that NO blood types should be strictly vegetarian; so it is an idea to get your facts right .

I have the Encyclopedia and in it there are many scientific studies, it is by no means anecdotal.

I have Ben Goldacre's book and he is much more critical of the huge pharma companies which falsify and 'loose' results of their tests that don't agree with them than he is of homeopathy (he doesn't mention The Blood Type at all ).

Iam pleased you're in brilliant health with your way of eating I hope it continues for you but I know how i feel and how ill I felt before i went onto the Blood type.

Cote if you want to throw book titles around, how about 'Pure, White and Deadly', written in the 60's and debunked by the wider scientific community who 'proved' that fat was the enemy in terms of health. Or the government scientists' warnings, not so many years ago, not to eat too many eggs because they cause high cholesterol....

The fact that you can eat a wide range of foods and feel fine, in terms of blood type, just says to me that more generations of your family have been eating that diet than perhaps other A types, and/or they have evolved more quickly...notwithstanding the fact that you probably haven't actually tried the blood type diet for A's to see if you might actually, feel amazing (or not, as I said, it doesn't work for everyone) smile

With any diet, I think we need to have an open mind and a (metaphoric smile) pinch of salt handy. The blood type diet works for a substantial number of people, purely anecdotal or not, that's good enough for me. If you experiment with a WOE and find what works for you then within reason that's enough, IMO, often your own body is the best scientist around.

ppeatfruit Fri 14-Mar-14 08:06:11

lottie You're right of course there's more to it than any ONE way of eating. That's why I mentioned Food Combining and the Paul Mckenna. Nothing is as simple as we'd like it to be!!

I've been doing acupressure (a sort of do it yourself acupuncture) which has given me a curvy waist and abs for the ist time in my life grin. With a few easy exes I'm keeping in shape.

ppeatfruit Fri 14-Mar-14 08:11:11

Exactly Sleep I always laugh when people talk about anecdotal evidence being no evidence ; how was penicillin doscovered? By ONE doctor who just noticed it growing on a dish.

If ALL anecdotal evidence was ignored nothing would be discovered at all grin

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