High protein diet during middle age linked to increased cancer rates.

meatandcheeseThere has been considerable debate in scientific circles regarding the effectiveness and use of high diet during middle age with the popularity of the Atkins and other based diets. Now a new study has linked high intake during middle age with a substantially increased rate. High intake is also associated with a much lower life expectancy rate and an increased risk of diabetes. This is the first study to show a definitive correlation between high and and is based on how biology changes with age. controls the growth hormone IGF-I, which helps our bodies grow but has been linked to . Levels of IGF-I drop off dramatically after age 65, leading to potential frailty and muscle loss. The study shows that while high intake during middle age is very harmful, it is protective for : those over 65 who ate a moderate- or high- diet were less susceptible to disease.

Plant based proteins did not have the same effect, suggesting that animal proteins from cheese and meat are solely to blame. A high diet was defines as deriving at least 20 percent of calories from , including both plant-based and animal-based . A “moderate” diet includes 10-19 percent of calories from , and a “low-” diet includes less than 10 percent .

“There’s a misconception that because we all eat, understanding is simple. But the question is not whether a certain diet allows you to do well for three days, but can it help you survive to be 100?” said corresponding author Valter Longo, the Edna M. Jones Professor of Biogerontology at the USC Davis School of Gerontology and director of the USC Longevity Institute.

“The research shows that a low- diet in middle age is useful for preventing cancer and overall mortality, through a process that involves regulating IGF-I and possibly levels,” said co-author Eileen Crimmins, the AARP Chair in Gerontology at USC. “However, we also propose that at older ages, it may be important to avoid a low- diet to allow the maintenance of healthy weight and protection from frailty.”

“The majority of Americans are eating about twice as much proteins as they should, and it seems that the best change would be to lower the daily intake of all proteins but especially animal-derived proteins,” Longo said. “But don’t get extreme in cutting out ; you can go from protected to malnourished very quickly.”

moderate amounts of had detrimental effects during middle age, with people still three times as likely to die from cancer compared to a low diet. Across all 6,318 adults over the age of 50 in the study, average intake was about 16 percent of total daily calories with about two-thirds from animal — corresponding to data about national . The study sample was representative across ethnicity, education and health background.


Morgan E. Levine, Jorge A. Suarez, Sebastian Brandhorst, Priya Balasubramanian, Chia-Wei Cheng, Federica Madia, Luigi Fontana, Mario G. Mirisola, Jaime Guevara-Aguirre, Junxiang Wan, Giuseppe Passarino, Brian K. Kennedy, Min Wei, Pinchas Cohen, Eileen M. Crimmins, Valter D. Longo. Low Intake Is Associated with a Major Reduction in IGF-1, Cancer, and Overall Mortality in the 65 and Younger but Not Older Population. Cell , 2014; 19 (3): 407-417 DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2014.02.006

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