Loading Up On Meat And Cheese Quadruples Cancer Risk
Could it be true that eating a high protein diet, with lots of meat and cheese, quadruples your risk of dying of cancer? That’s the opinion of researchers at the University of Southern California, who studied levels of the growth hormone IGF-I, which has been linked to cancer susceptibility, in more than 6,000 people. A USC news release reports that the researchers found that eating a diet rich in animal proteins during middle age makes you four times more likely to die of cancer than someone with a low-protein diet — a mortality risk factor comparable to smoking. They also found that middle-aged people who eat lots of proteins from animal sources — including meat, milk and cheese — were 74 percent more likely to die of any cause within the study period than their more low-protein counterparts. Wait there’s more: Even those who ate a moderate amount of protein were three times more likely to die of cancer than those who ate a low-protein diet in middle age. Overall, even the small change of decreasing protein intake from moderate levels to low levels reduced likelihood of early death by 21 percent. So what exactly is a high-protein diet? Good question.The researchers defined a high-protein diet as deriving at least 20 percent of calories from protein, including both plant-based and animal-based protein. A “moderate” protein diet includes 10 to 19 percent of calories from protein, and a low-protein diet includes less than 10 percent protein. Read more from USC.