For middle-aged men, eating larger amounts of protein would be associated with a slightly higher risk of heart failure.
Excessive protein intake increases the risk of heart failure in men, according to a study published in the journal Circulation: Heart Failure.
Researchers from the University of Finland conducted a study with 2,441 men aged 42 to 60 years, for 22 years to understand the link between protein consumption and heart failure.
“As many people seem to take for granted the benefits of high protein diets, it is important to clarify the risks and benefits of this type of diet,” said Jyrki Virtanen, author of the study and assistant professor of nutrition, nutritional epidemiology at the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio. “Previous studies had linked protein-rich diets — especially of animal origin — with increased risks of type 2 diabetes and premature death.”
The researchers found 334 cases of heart failure diagnosed in the study and 70% of the protein consumed came from animal sources and 27.7% was vegetable. Only proteins from fish and eggs were not associated with a risk of heart failure in this study, according to the researchers.
For this study, the researchers divided the men into four groups based on their daily protein intake. When they compared them, they found that the risk of heart failure was:
- 33% higher for all protein sources;
- 43% higher for animal protein;
- 49% higher for dairy proteins.
- 17% for vegetable proteins
“As this is one of the first studies on the association between dietary protein and the risk of heart failure, further research is needed before knowing whether moderate protein intake can be beneficial in the prevention of heart failure,” says Heli EK Virtanen.”Long-term interventions comparing diets with protein compositions and focusing on different protein sources would be important to reveal the possible effects of protein intake on risk factors for heart failure,” the researcher added.