Higher intakes of animal protein increased risk of death in those with cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, according to a study published online in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Researchers followed the diets of 2,641 participants from the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study and compared protein intake with death from chronic disease. Those who consumed more meat and protein from animal-based sources in place of plant-based sources increased their risk of death from chronic disease by 23 percent. Possible mechanisms for the increased risk include decreased kidney function and increased production of cancer-related hormones associated with higher animal-based protein intake.
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Virtanen HEK, Voutilainen S, Koskinen TT, et al. Dietary proteins and protein sources and risk of death: the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. Am J Clin Nutr. Published online April 9, 2019.