Diet high in animal proteins linked to higher risk of dying from cancer

The Washington Post reports that research published in Cell Metabolism indicated that individuals “who ate a diet high in animal proteins during middle age were four times more likely to die of cancer than contemporaries with low-protein diets – a risk factor, if accurate, comparable to smoking.”

Additionally, “they … were several times more likely to die of diabetes, researchers said.” The investigators “also tested the relationship between protein intake and cancer progression in mice, saying that during a two-month experiment there was lower cancer incidence and significantly smaller average tumor size among mice on a low-protein diet.”

The Huffington Post reports that investigators “followed 6,318 adults from a variety of ethnicities and health histories over two decades and found those with diets high in animal proteins were just as likely to die as a result of cancer as a regular smoker.”

On its website, FOX News reports, “Overall, people who consumed high-protein diets were four times more likely to die from cancer and 74 percent more likely to die of any cause during the study period compared to people who ate a low-protein diet.”

The Los Angeles Times “Science Now” blog reports that the researchers found that “whether the remainder of those younger individuals’ diet was dominated by fat or carbohydrates made no difference to the outcome.”

However, “the source of the protein mattered a great deal: for those whose sources of protein were heavily plant-based — nuts and legumes — the increased risk of dying of cancer declined and the increased risk of all-cause mortality disappeared altogether.”

The ABC News “Medical Unit” blog reports, however, that “after the age of 65, the trend dissipated,” with the data indicating that “the patients whose diets were packed with protein were more than 25 percent less likely to meet an early death.

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