High-Protein Diet for Heart Disease?

Popular high protein diets often  include foods such as lean meats, chicken, beans, milk, etc and as a consequence can be effective as part of a weight loss plan.   A high protein diet, though is considered one of the best diet plans for achieving weight loss, are often associated with some potentially negative consequences such as gout, colorectal cancer, and heart disease.

Though lean meat itself is a great source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, niacin, vitamin B12, zinc, and iron, less lean cuts of meat or processed meat are primarily linked to more serious health consequences.  Processed meat, as an example, is associated with an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease.  In contrast, the high saturated fat content of fatty sources of meat can contributed to elevated LDL cholesterol levels and therefore increase your risk of heart disease.

The High-Protein Diet

Research on the High Protein Diet and Heart Health

One studied published in the journal, Angiology, studied the effects of a high protein diet on cardiac risk factors including c-reactive protein, lipoprotein a, total cholesterol, triglycerides,  high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL cholesterol), and HDL or high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.

A total of 26 people were studies for a period of 1 year.  The researchers found that the individuals in the high protein group (HPG) showed a progression of coronary artery disease (CAD):

Individuals in the HPG showed worsening of their independent variables. Most notably, fibrinogen, Lp (a), and C-RP increased by an average of 14%, 106%, and 61% respectively. Progression of the extent and severity of CAD was documented in each of the vascular territories with an overall cumulative progression of 39.7%.

The Researchers Concluded:

“These results would suggest that high-protein diets may precipitate progression of CAD through increases in lipid deposition and inflammatory and coagulation pathways.”

Sources of Dietary Protein and Risk of Heart Disease in Women:

In a study published in the prestigious medial journal, Circulation, the researchers prospectively followed 84,136 women for a duration of 26 years.

Dietary Factors Associated with Higher Risk of Coronary Heart Disease – CHD:

  • higher intakes of red meat
  • red meat excluding processed meat
  • high-fat dairy

Dietary Factors were Associated with a Lower Risk of CHD:

  • higher intakes of poultry, fish, and nuts

Protein Intake and Weight Loss?

One of the more recently discussed diets for weight loss has been a diet with a modest increase in protein content and a modest reduction in glycemic index.   In fact, the results of such a diet on maintenance of weight loss was recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

In total, they compared 1209 adults who were randomly assigned to one of five diets over a 26 week period design to prevent weight gain.  The diets themselves were ad libitum and included combinations of high or low-protein, high or low-glycemic-index as well as a control diet.  Previously, the dieters had lost an average of 11 kg on a low-calorie diet.

The researchers found that the worst diet and only one associated with weight regain was the low-protein high-glycemic-index diet.  In contrast, the high-protein low-glycemic-index was the most effective for preventing weight regain.

What Does This All Mean?

[box type=”important”]For those who’re looking to lose weight without increasing their risk of heart disease, moderation and common sense should prevail without going to extremes. As well, certain sources of protein, particularly from high-fat dairy or processed meat should be limited or avoided.[/box]

Lydia Diane

My name is Lydia Diane. I am a firm believer of looking and feeling healthy. I love to write articles about thing I know well. I have a particular interest in topics related to health and fitness, although I enjoy writing on a variety of subjects.

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