Harvard study shows high animal protein diet is bad for health

9/9/2010 A new study from Harvard is telling people to ditch their steak and dive into a bean burger instead or suffer an early demise.The major piece of research debunks the theory that Atkins-type diets based on eating animal protein are good for your health.  Instead the results demonstrated the best way to keep carbs in check and diseases at bay is by consuming a diet of plant-based proteins.

 The Harvard study which was published on Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine looked at 85,168 women and 44,548 men for a period of more than 20 years.  It found that their risk of dying from heart disease and cancer dramatically increased when they followed an animal based protein diet.

 Mortality Rates From Consuming Animals

•The risk of dying from heart disease increased 14 percent.
•The risk of dying from cancer increased 28 percent.
On the flip side, the mortality rate decreased in people who got most of the protein in their diets from plants.

 Teresa Fung of Simmons College was the lead author of the study.  She said in an interview with USA Today, “beans and nuts are protein powerhouses.”

 The researchers do not want to discourage people from eating low-carbohydrate diets.  Americans eat too many refined carbs such as sugar and white flour.

 One researcher in the study said, “People are just over-carbing.  Cereal bowls look like bowls for a casserole.  People eat granola bars all day.”

 The study revealed that individuals who exchanged processed carbs with plant-based foods had a lower risk of dying from cancer and heart disease.

 ”You can have the initial Atkins-type of low-carb diet, which is loaded with sausages, bacon, steaks, and you can have healthy versions of the low-carb diet with more vegetable or plant-based protein and fat,” said Dr. Frank B. Hu, senior researcher and professor of nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health to Bloomberg Businessweek.

 ”We looked at these two versions of low-carb diets and found that the impact of the two are drastically different,” Hu said.

 ”Those who follow the animal-based low-carb diet have an increased risk of total mortality and cancer mortality in particular,” said Hu.

Plant-based low carb diets typically consist of fats from vegetable oils, nuts and peanut butter while proteins come from legumes, nuts and whole grains.
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