Excessive protein intake increases the risk of heart failure in men

Pearl Mccarthy
June 2, 2018

A new study has found that middle-aged men who follow high-protein diets may be at higher risk of heart failure.

The study, published in the journal Circulation: Heart Failure, included 2,441 men, aged between 42 and 60 years who were examined over a period of 22 years. At the beginning of for several days they record what foods you consume.

If you're an athlete or a bodybuilder you'll have a high protein requirement (up to 1.6g protein per kilo of bodyweight per day - an 80g man would aim for 128g protein, for example). They found that the men who ate the most animal protein and dairy were at a higher risk - 43% and 49% respectively - of developing heart failure than those who ate the least.

Further investigation is needed, as there is now little research on the link between dietary protein and heart failure risk.

"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", added lead author Heli EK Virtanen, PhD student and early career researcher at the University of Eastern Finland.

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Plant protein appeared less risky: Eating high amounts of plant protein was linked with a 17 percent increase in the risk of heart failure, compared with eating low amounts. Those behind the study did say that much more research was needed to confirm and cement the findings, especially among more diverse populations.

The researchers found 334 cases of heart failure diagnosed in the study and 70% of the protein consumed came from animal sources and 27.7% was vegetable.

The authors of the study concluded that as there is now little research on the link between dietary protein and heart failure risk, further research is needed before they can say that moderating protein intake would help to prevent it.

To such conclusion scientists from the University of Eastern Finland. Note: material may have been edited for length and content. K. (2018). Intake of Different Dietary Proteins and Risk of Heart Failure in Men: The Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study.

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