Eating lots of meat and cheese when you're middle-aged may shorten your life. Researchers at the University of Southern California say a diet rich in animal proteins is comparable to smoking, because it makes you four times more likely to die of cancer than someone with a low protein diet. They also found that protein lovers were 74 percent more likely to die of any cause.
However, people over 65 who ate a moderate or high-protein diet were less susceptible to disease. The researchers found that plant-based proteins, such as those from beans, did not seem to have the same mortality effects as animal proteins. Rates of cancer and death also did not seem to be affected by controlling for carbohydrate or fat consumption, suggesting that animal protein is the main culprit.
The study has been published in the current issue of "Cell Metabolism."