Protein is very much in vogue today. Whether you're trying to build muscle or lose weight, you can find some "expert" explaining why protein is the answer. The popularity of the Paleo diet may be the best example of how this dietary philosophy has taken hold.
And so people are loading up on steak and poultry, bacon and burgers. Hold the bun.
But it turns out eating too much animal protein has a downside.
A study released at the American Heart Association National Conference found that high amounts of protein increases risk for heart failure in women. Specifically, women over 50 who adhere to a high-protein diet appear to have a 60% increased risk for developing heart failure, especially if most of their protein comes from meat.
On the flip side, women who eat more vegetable-based protein decrease their risk by nearly 20%.
How do you get more vegetable-based proteins? Load up on nuts, beans, lentils and quinoa.
Heart failure is a serious condition and occurs when the heart can no longer pump enough blood to fill the body's needs. More than 5 million people in the United States suffer from heart failure, and it is the most common reason older people are hospitalized.
What does this mean for you men? It doesn't mean you're off the book just because this study only looked at women. It’s biologically plausible that the findings in this study also apply to men.
If you really want to dig into all the science around protein, here's a great article from the Nutrition Source website of the Harvard School of Public Health.