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High-Protein Diets are Linked to Heart Failure in Older Women

December 16, 2016
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Many researchers suggest a high-protein diet for long life, higher metabolism and weight loss. However, older women may not receive the same health benefits. According to the Brown University Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island, a high-protein diet may raise the risk of heart failure for women 50-79 years old. If the protein comes from meat, the health risks are even higher. The study was presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions, which was held in New Orleans. Researchers analyzed 103,878 women post-menopause, who were active in the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI). Participants completed daily food frequency questionnaires, and were analyzed on intake choices from 1993 to 1998. Researchers also analyzed daily protein intake, and where the protein came from. By the end of the study, 1,711 women experienced heart failure. After studying the differences between those who suffered from heart failure to those who did not, researchers concluded that total protein intake was the defining variable. Results stayed, even after measuring for age, education level, ethnicity, blood pressure and anemia. “Heart failure is highly prevalent, especially in postmenopausal women,” said study co-author Dr. Mohamad Firas Barbour, “Therefore, a better understanding of nutrition-related factors associated with heart failure is needed.” Heart failure strikes when the heart is unable to pump enough blood through the body to support vital organs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also reports that around 5.7 million adults suffer from heart failure in America. In 2009, heart failure was the reason behind one in nine deaths in the United States. To prevent heart failure, medical experts suggest a diet low in fat, cholesterol and sodium. In this case, Brown University Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island suggests lowering protein intake as well. Protein can be found in foods like meat, dairy, poultry, seafood, peas, nuts and beans. While the study did find a correlation between protein intake and heart failure, protein is still considered essential for the body’s bones, skin and muscles. Moderation is key.
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