Diet high in protein may raise heart failure risk in older women

 
By Rebecca Burton • Published: February 16th, 2017
Category: Health in a Heartbeat
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Many fad diets lurking around the internet today suggest eating sufficient amounts of “lean protein.” Protein shakes are a common staple among fitness buffs. In fact, previous research has shown that protein-rich diets can boost metabolism and weight loss efforts. However, a new study suggests that one diet does not fit all, warning that postmenopausal women shouldn’t eat too much protein.

The study, published in the journal Cell Metabolism, found that women between the ages of 50 and 79 who had a high-protein diet were more likely to develop heart failure than those women who had a lower-protein diet.

Researchers analyzed data from more than 103,000 postmenopausal women as part of a larger study titled the Women’s Health Initiative. The participants were asked to fill out a food questionnaire between 1993 and 1998. Researchers recorded their total protein intake, as well as how much of the protein was consumed from plant and animal products. To increase accuracy of the results,  the team also used biomarker data to get a more precise measure of a participant’s protein intake levels.

By 2005, a total of 1,711 of the women studied had experienced heart failure. Results showed that those women who consumed most of their protein from meat were at greater risk than women who received most of their protein from plants.

The team said results should be taken with caution as further research is needed to fully determine this link. The authors state that since heart failure is fairly common among postmenopausal women, more research needs to be done to understand nutrition-related factors that could prevent it.