A diet heavy on meat and cheese may be shortening your life - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

A diet heavy on meat and cheese may be shortening your life

A diet heavy in meat and cheese may shorten your life. A diet heavy in meat and cheese may shorten your life.

(RNN) - A new study said that middle-aged people who indulge in a diet heavy in meat and cheese are more likely to die from cancer.

Published in the journal Cell Metabolism, the study shows people who ate a diet high in animal proteins from milk, meat and cheese are 74 percent more likely to die earlier than those in the study who followed a low-protein diet. The study also shows those who eat a high-protein diet were more likely to be diagnosed with cancer or diabetes.

The hormone that was studied, IGF-I, is controlled by protein and helps our body grow and is linked to cancer susceptibility.

"The research shows that a low-protein diet in middle age is useful for preventing cancer and overall mortality, through a process that involves regulating IGF-I and possibly insulin levels," said Eileen Crimmins in a news release, holder of the AARP Chair in Gerontology at USC, who was a co-author on the study.

However, researchers followed more than 6,000 adults over the age of 50 for two decades and looked at various stages of life, so what may be healthy at middle age may not be in old age.

Our bodies produce much less of the hormone after age 65.

"However, we also propose that at older ages, it may be important to avoid a low-protein diet to allow the maintenance of healthy weight and protection from frailty," Crimmins said.

The study followed a sample of adults for two decades.

A high-protein diet was defined by the researches as 20 percent of calories coming from both animal- and plant-based sources of protein. Moderate ranged from 10 to 19 percent and low-protein was defined as less than 10 percent.

Even people who ate a diet with moderate protein intake were still three times more likely to die of cancer than those observing a low-protein diet.

"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," said Valter Longo, professor of Biogerontology at the USC Davis School of Gerontology and director of the USC Longevity Institute, who is also a co-author.

Eating plant based proteins were healthier than animal based proteins.

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