High animal protein diet increases mortality rate

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animal-fat(NaturalHealth365) The obesity epidemic, over the last few decades, has given rise to the popularity of a high protein diets. Dr. Robert Atkins first introduced Diet Revolution in 1981, and it soon became contention with many in the medical field. At the time, research showed that red meats and saturated fats were contributors of heart disease, and Dr. Atkins’ diet consisted of high animal proteins and tons of saturated fat.

Yet, his diet slowly became popular throughout the next two decades as thousands in the overweight and obese community testified that his diet plan worked.

Editor’s note: It should be noted that there is a BIG difference between ‘clean protein’ and ‘mean protein’ – click here to learn more about the best fats (and protein) to eat for healthy weight loss, better energy and mental clarity.

The popularity of a high protein diet

As time went on, the medical community began endorsing a high protein diet. Drs. Michael and Mary Eades Protein Power became a bestseller in the late 1990s, and Dr. Pierre Dukan’s The Dukan Diet sold millions of copies after its release in 2011. Today, the bodybuilding and fitness community highly recommends a high protein diet that consists of red meat and poultry.

Because of its proven benefit of weight loss, it would be difficult to believe that high protein diets aren’t the answer to health problems. After all, research has shown that obesity contributes to disease such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and more. However, chronic inflammatory diseases have been climbing which doesn’t only affect those who are overweight. It has been shown to even badger those who are seemingly fit and healthy, and research is showing that high protein diets are to blame.

Research proves high protein diets significantly raise mortality rate

Very recently, the journal Cell Metabolism published a large study proving that moderate to high protein diets are positively associated with diabetes-related mortality, as well as cancer mortality. Researchers from the University of California tracked 6,381 adults for 18 years using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Subjects were placed on one of three protein diets:

  • High protein (consisting of more than 20 percent of calories)
  • Moderate protein (consisting of 11 to 19 percent of calories)
  • Low protein (consisting of 10 percent or less of calories)
  • Adults under the age of 65 who ate a diet high in protein had a “74% increase in their relative risk of all-cause mortality” and were “more than 4-times as likely to die of cancer” when compared to those in the low protein group. Subjects in the moderate protein group also had a “3-fold higher cancer mortality.”


Animal proteins cause higher rates of cancer and all-cause mortality

The study by the University of California also indicated the risks for cancer and all-cause mortality. Researchers determined that subjects who consumed animal protein had significantly higher risks for mortality when compared to those whose protein intake came from other sources.

A study published in the Nutrition journal also determined the same results. In an 8-week study, 96 obese adults were divided into two groups, and both groups followed a hypocaloric (reduced calorie) diet. One group’s diet consisted of 30 percent protein, and the other group consisted of 15 percent protein. At the end of the study, both groups lost about the same amount of weight and body fat. However, participants whose protein intake consisted of more meats had higher levels of inflammation compared to participants who consumed mostly fish and/or plant-based proteins.

Eat less animal protein and more plant-based protein

The studies showed that weight and fat loss can still be accomplished on a lower protein diet. Even. Dr. Atkins’ high animal protein diet was revised to be a more balanced and healthier diet in The New Atkins for a New You. For optimal health, it’s important to reduce the amount of animal protein or exchange them for plant-based protein such as lentils, beans, peas, quinoa, and amaranth.

Please note: If you eat animal protein/fat, look for 100% grass-fed options to avoid the toxins – especially the genetically engineered feed and drugs given to conventionally-raised animals.

About the author: Abby Campbell is a medical, health, and nutrition research writer. She’s dedicated to helping people live a healthy lifestyle in all aspects – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Abby practices, writes, and coaches on natural preventive care, nutritional medicine, and complementary and alternative therapy.


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  • As long as the animal protein is sourced from reputable organic/grass-fed/non-GMO farmers and ranchers, your risk will be lower than study outcome. Red meat is high in acidity, so the less you eat the better.

  • paul prehn

    i don”t think this applies to grassed, 100% organic, pastured meat.

  • George Tyron

    Why didn’t previous generations who didn’t realize how dangerous meat was survive without knowing this? They did consume both meat and dairy.

    There is more to this story than is understood. It could be when animal protein is mixed in with high carbs, prescription drugs and environmental toxins you get a different response to this protein.

  • Wyat

    I agree eat more from the plant kingdom. However, cutting out processed food should be the first thing you do. Animal protein is eaten by many cultures, but junk food wasn’t.

    Animal protein has become a very processed food and that may be a big part of the problem/

  • Hi Mandy. Actually, I do eat meat, poultry, and fish. However, new research is showing that gut health is linked with nearly every disease – especially cancer. When the body’s pH is more acidic, the stage is set for disease. Therefore, it’s important to get plenty of nutrient-dense vegetables, fruits, and fiber.

  • Hi gudrunb. Please read my message to Mandy. Grass-fed, free-range, and organic are definitely better sources when eating meat. This article is not based on ridding meat from your diet. However, “high” animal protein can throw your body’s pH balance off by making it acidic. Studies show that an acidic body leads to disease. Additionally, gut health is compromised when eating high protein. Therefore, it’s best to limit how much you’re getting on a daily basis. While most people include animal proteins for three square meals per day, it’s best to limit it to once per day while incorporating plant-sourced proteins for the rest of the meals.