Meaty diets could be boosting heart disease risk in middle-aged men

Men might want to swap this out for some hake [Photo: Pexels]
Men might want to swap this out for some hake [Photo: Pexels]

It’s not unusual for a man who’s finished up at the gym to chow down on a hunk of meat afterwards.

Since Dr Robert Atkins came into our lives with a famous diet of the same name, the idea that high-protein, meat-heavy diets are best for weight loss has largely been considered fact.

But men who swear by their meaty, high-dairy diets could be doing themselves more harm than good as a new study by the American Heart Association has found that they could be at a greater risk of heart failure than others.

Researchers followed 2,441 men aged between 42 and 60 each for an average of 22 years and found that men who consumed high-protein diets were at a higher risk of developing heart disease – especially if that protein came from meat and dairy.

While a higher intake of protein from most dietary sources was associated with slightly higher risk, only proteins from fish and eggs weren’t associated with heart failure risk.

Red meat is delicious, but is it worth it? [Photo: Pexels]
Red meat is delicious, but is it worth it? [Photo: Pexels]

The study’s authors acknowledged that although there’s plenty more research to be done on the topic, outcomes don’t look especially good for people that eat loads of protein – especially if that protein is derived from animals.

“As many people seem to take the health benefits of high-protein diets for granted, it is important to make clear the possible risks,” study author Dr. Jyrki Virtanen told Eurekalert!

“Earlier studies had linked diets high in protein – especially from animal sources – with increased risks of Type 2 diabetes and even death.”

Instead, the American Heart Association recommends eating a good mix of food groups including fruit and veg, whole grains, poultry, fish and beans.

It also recommends cutting down on meat as well as sweets or sugar-sweetened drinks.

So swap that burger and full-fat Coke for sea bass and water, folks.

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