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A High-Protein Diet Can Trigger Heart Failure Risks In Middle-Aged Men

By Sakhi Pandey

Protein is a macronutrient that is extremely essential in building anybody's muscle mass. Most people get their protein from animal products like chicken, fish, eggs, and many other animals products.

However, proteins are also present in a lot of vegetarian, plant, and natural products like legumes, peanuts, almonds, asparagus, artichokes, and green peas among others.

High-protein diets: Are they safe?

Proteins are known as the muscle building nutrients because proteins are made up of amino acids, which include compounds like carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, or sulfur. These amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, which in turn help in building muscle mass.

Therefore, proteins are extremely important for the growth and development of a human being, and most people consume a lot of proteins to build muscles, abs, etc., in the gym, or to gain any sort of muscle mass.

However, an excess of anything is not good for health. Although proteins are an important nutrient and act as a building block to one's life, on the other side of the coin, the same nutrient is also known to have increased the risk of heart failure in men slightly.

A study in Finland found that all middle-aged men consuming a high amount of proteins were more likely to die or face the risk of heart failure than those who did not consume as much protein. However, proteins consumed from fish and eggs did not affect the heart in any way.

There was a research conducted where 2441 men participated, all falling in the age group between 42 to 60. This study took place over a period of 22 years. It followed their dietary habits, in specific, the amount of proteins consumed by these men.

The results showed that there were at least 334 cases in which the men died of heart failure and around 70% of them consumed proteins from animal products and 27.7% of the men consumed proteins from plant products.

For the purpose of the study, the researchers even divided them into four specific categories on the basis of their daily consumption of protein. When this data was compared to the outcome, they found out that people who were at the risk of having a heart failure were:

1. 33% of those men who consumed all sorts of protein.
2. 43% of those men who consumed animal protein.
3. 49% of those who consumed dairy protein.
4. Lastly, 17% of those who consumed plant protein.

The adjunct professor of nutritional epidemiology at the University of Eastern Finland, Jyrki Virtanen said that consuming high-protein diets for one's health is understandable, however, it is also important for one to know the risks as well as the benefits of these particular diets.

Studies, in fact, have linked a high-protein diet with not only risks of heart failure and other heart problems but also, type 2 diabetes and in certain cases, even death.

Other professors who were a part of this study, like Heli E.K. Virtanen, who is an M.Sc., first author of study, Ph.D. student and early career research at the University of Finland, also said, "As this is one of the first studies reporting on the association between dietary protein and heart failure risk, more research is needed before we know whether moderating protein intake may be beneficial in the prevention of heart failure."
She also said,"Long-term interventions comparing diets with differential protein compositions and emphasizing differential protein sources would be important to reveal possible effects of protein intake on risk factors of heart failure. More research is also needed in other study populations."

Therefore, the link between high-protein diets and the risk of heart failure is weak, but it still exists.

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    Read more about: diet health
    Story first published: Tuesday, June 12, 2018, 14:00 [IST]
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