In order to build muscle, to get lean, lose fat and maintain a healthy weight, the common denominator is the need for protein in your daily diet. With so many diets, fitness regimes and healthy lifestyle guidelines telling of the need for high amounts of protein, it begs the question, “is so much protein, really all that safe?” Recent researchers would tell you that it’s not quite as safe as once believed.
Among the latest research is a study from the journal Cell Metabolism, which followed 6,381 adults ages 50 or older. Results showed that a high-protein intake made up of particularly animal-protein could well be just as unhealthy as smoking cigarettes. In fact, those between the ages of 50 and 65 who eat large quantities of animal proteins in middle age are four times more likely to die of cancer than those who don’t.
While studying mice, researchers have found that high-protein diets increased levels of the growth hormone IGF-1. In the human study, they found that the more IGF-1 someone has within the body, the more likely they are to die from cancer. “When you have a lot of protein, these growth factors go up, and we’ve shown that they help normal cells become cancer-like cells, and then they help the cells grow,” explained researcher Valter Longo, biology professor at the University of Southern California.
It’s noted that countries that consume more animal fats, like red meat, butter and cheese, tend to have higher incidences of breast cancer. However, a much healthier and safer alternative to getting the required amount of protein in your diet can be found in plant proteins, as these have not been shown to increase cancer risk. So opting in for beans, tofu, nuts and seeds to get your fill of this nutrient is wise. This is not to say that animal based protein isn’t the best source for a healthy diet, but consuming other forms of protein are essential to lowering cancer risk.
Consult your primary care physician or chiropractor for any medical related advice.