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Meat and Cheese may be as bad for you as Smoking

Meat and Cheese may be as bad for you as Smoking

What we can and what we can’t eat changes all the time and the latest research has brought out this shocking headline: A diet rich in meat, eggs and dairy could be as harmful to your health as smoking.

The study the story is based on is controversial but the results are still interesting.

People under the age of 65 who eat high levels of animal protein (meat, eggs and dairy) are up to four times more likely to die of cancer or diabetes. A further increase in the risk of dying from any cause over an 18 year period was also seen.

A high protein diet is classed as one in which 20% of your calorie intake is from protein. In general, just 10-15% of your diet should be from protein.

Interestingly these statistics were completely zeroed for diabetes and general health when plant proteins such as beans or legumes replaced the animal-based ones. Cancer risk still remained high in middle-aged people who ate protein-rich diets regardless of the source of protein. 

It’s not long since the Atkins diet was all the rage and this was probably the highest protein diet around. The last year or so has all been about living like a caveman, on the paleo diet.

These diets have now been thrown into doubt with the suggestion that a low-protein diet should be maintained until later life. It is only when frailty becomes an issue that the body’s protein intake needs to be boosted.

However, as with all the big headline food stories, looking into it a little deeper shows there’s nothing cut and dry. Nutritionists have said more research needs to be done before we can lay the blame entirely at the feet of animal proteins.So you may not have to give up those steak and cheese melts just yet.

Perhaps just cut down on them, to be on the safe side.

Oh, and do some exercise.