A protein-packed diet may actually shorten your lifespan


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If you’re looking for a long life, put down those powdered shakes and step away from the Delmonico.

Two studies released earlier this month show how protein consumption affects longevity, as well as weight and fat loss.

The first study, conducted by researchers at the University of Southern California, concludes that for middle-aged adults, a diet packed with protein leads to higher risk of cancer, diabetes and death. The researchers followed thousands of adults for two decades and found that those in middle age with a diet high in animal-based proteins — such as meat, eggs and cheese — were four times more likely to die from cancer, and several times more likely to die from diabetes. That’s just as deadly as the risk associated with smoking.

Elderly adults, on the other hand, benefit from a diet rich with protein because it aids in maintaining a healthy weight and bodily strength. The researchers saw an overall 28% reduction in causes of death for people 65 years and older eating protein-packed diets. 

The University of Sydney in Australia conducted the second study, which concludes that a diet low in protein and high in carbohydrates leads to a long life. Researchers tried more than 25 diets of varying nutrition levels on groups of hundreds of mice to see the effects of proteins, fats and carbohydrates on energy levels, metabolism, aging and lifespan. 

The results concluded that mice eating a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet had less fat but died young; those eating high-fat diets had the overall worst health; those eating high-carbohydrate, low-protein diets had the most body fat but were healthiest and lived longest; and those with a calorie-restricted diet did not live longest.