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Middle-aged? Put down the meat
March 5th, 2014
09:12 AM ET

Middle-aged? Put down the meat

Eating a high-protein diet in middle age could increase your risk of diabetes and cancer, according to a study published this week in the journal Cell Metabolism. But don't stay away from meat for too long - the same study showed those over 65 need more protein to reduce their mortality risk.

Background

Insulin-like growth factor 1, or IGF-1, is a protein in your body related to growth and development. Past studies have linked IGF-1 to age-related diseases, including cancer. Mice and humans with higher levels of IGF-1 often have a higher risk of developing these diseases.

Scientists believe protein intake plays a role in IGF-1 activity. Eating less protein, studies have shown, can lead to lower levels of IGF-1 in your body. So theoretically, protein consumption could be directly linked to disease incidence and death.

The study

Researchers analyzed survey data from 6,381 U.S. men and women aged 50 and above to understand the link between protein, certain diseases and mortality.

The study participants were split into three groups: a high-protein group who ate 20% or more of their daily calories from proteins; a moderate-protein group who ate 10 to 19% of their calories from proteins; and a low-protein group.

Researchers also looked at the differences in risk between those aged 50 to 65 and those over 65 years old.

The results

People between the ages of 50 and 65 who ate a high-protein diet had a 74% increase in overall mortality compared to those in the low-protein group. The meat lovers also had four-fold increased risk of dying from cancer during the study's 18-year follow-up.

However, this risk was only seen in those who got their protein from animal sources such as meat, eggs and cheese; the link disappeared if the protein came from plants, such as nuts, seeds and beans.

People who were over the age of 65 and ate a high-protein diet saw the opposite effect. Researchers saw a 28% reduction in death from all causes in this group. Cancer deaths in this older, high-protein group, were also reduced.

Study participants of any age who ate a high-protein diet had a five-fold increased risk of dying from diabetes.

The scientists had IGF-1 data for more than 2,200 people in the study. Analyzing this information, they determined that for every IGF-1 increase of 10 ng/ml, those on a high-protein diet were 9% more likely to die from cancer than those on a low-protein diet.

The study authors concluded that high levels of animal proteins cause increased levels of IGF-1 and possibly insulin in the body, which leads to higher mortality for people ages 50 to 65.

Tumors in mice

Researchers also reported on a separate experiment, where lab mice were either on a high-protein or a low-protein diet. Mice on the low-protein diet had a lower cancer rate than those on a high-protein diet, even after being implanted with 20,000 melanoma cells. The low-protein mice also had smaller tumors on average than those on a high-protein diet by the end of the six-week experiment.

When the mice were switched from a high-protein diet to a low-protein diet, researchers saw a 30% decrease in their IGF-1 levels.

“Almost everyone is going to have a cancer cell or pre-cancer cell in them at some point. The question is: Does it progress?” study author Valter Longo said in a press release. “Turns out one of the major factors in determining if it does is protein intake.”

Takeaway

Eating more than 10% of your calories from animal proteins in middle age could increase your risk of dying from diseases such as cancer and diabetes. But after 65, you may need that extra protein to protect your body from becoming frail.

“The majority of Americans are eating about twice as much proteins as they should," Longo said. "It seems that the best change would be to lower the daily intake of all proteins, but especially animal-derived proteins."

Walter Willett, an epidemiologist at Harvard's School of Public Health, says not much should be made of this study's findings. It's unreasonable to treat "animal protein" as one class, he says, as fish, poultry and red meat are all very different.

Willett also noted that the headline on the press release associated with this study - "Meat and cheese may be as bad for you as smoking" - is a vast overstatement. The researchers did not include data on smoking in their study.

The Institute of Medicine's Food and Nutrition Board recommends eating about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight every day in middle age. So a 160-pound person should eat about 55 to 60 grams of protein a day.


soundoff (269 Responses)
  1. Ernie

    Another CNN goofy science report. Its the fat in meat and cheese that causes the problem. A careful reading of the study showed that protein gained from vegetable sources did not show the same risk. Duh. Protein from plants, once digested is identical to that derived from meat, the body can't tell where it came from. Had someone on the CNN staff had some common sense they would realize this study shows protein, which increases IGF-1 in humans is not a cause of cancer AS protein from the plants didn't cause the same increase. The only difference is the fat and cholesterol content, so cut the fat off of lean meat and eat fat free cheese. Since protein is the repair food of the body, over 65, the fats "spare" the protein to be used for repair instead of energy as most elderly eat too little.

    March 5, 2014 at 09:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • SB

      From the paper: "None of these associations was significantly affected by controlling for percent calories from total fat"

      " However, when the percent calories from animal protein was controlled for, the association between total protein and all-cause or cancer mortality was eliminated or significantly reduced, respectively, suggesting animal proteins are responsible for a significant portion of these relationships. When we controlled for the effect of plant-based protein, there was no change in the association between protein intake and mortality, indicating that high levels of animal proteins promote mortality and not that plant-based proteins have a protective effect"

      Now don't get me wrong; I'm not giving up the steaks until I'm physically incapable of eating them. But I do think it's fair to point out that you might have misread at least part of the paper and made an erroneous assumption or two.

      March 5, 2014 at 10:32 | Report abuse |
    • Edobj

      While the bits of protein, amino acids, may be the same but meat is not just pure protein. It comes with all the hormones (natural and added) and anything else the animal was exposed to like pesticides in their grain.

      March 5, 2014 at 10:59 | Report abuse |
    • joe

      Excuse you Mr Knowitall, but if you read the study carefully (not the article, which I agree is poorly written) you'd see that while their study did show animal protein is worse, ANY protein in the wrong amounts (which even the study is really poor about explaining – why do these researchers/scientists suck so bad at writing??) can still be harmful.

      March 5, 2014 at 12:53 | Report abuse |
    • al

      Actually your statement is not true. I think you should read up on how amino acids work. It's super interesting... A short and not complete breakdown... Plants protein are typically not complete proteins. Meaning...All Proteins are broken down into essential amino acids and non-essential amino acids. Essential amino acids mean that your body needs to get them from an outside source and cant create them. Most plants DO NOT have all the essential amino acids that your body needs. Most animal proteins do.

      Because different plants have different amino acid profiles, to be a responsible and healthy vegan, you have to be very knowledgeable in amino acids. You should know what foods have what amino acids and match them up accordingly each meal, so your body gets all the essential ones you need...

      March 5, 2014 at 13:13 | Report abuse |
    • Jesse

      The study was sponsered by a company that will be marketing a plant prootein based diet program, hence the "results" in their study. Secondly, your body ABSOLUTELY can tell one protein source from another due to the amino acid profiles from each type of protein is different and exclusive to that type of protein. The fat and cholesteral content have squat to do with the protein induced IGF-1 secretion. Try reading some tim.

      March 5, 2014 at 14:48 | Report abuse |
  2. Arturo Féliz-Camilo

    Reblogged this on Mr. Feliz's Blog (Teacher Arturo).

    March 5, 2014 at 10:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. larper2

    Are these the same people who stated that eating bacon takes 3 minutes of life away per slice of bacon?

    March 5, 2014 at 10:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Matt

    Its pretty common knowledge now that red meat is NOT good for you. Sure, in moderation its fine but guys who throw back bacon and steaks like there is no tomorrow are gonna definitely be feeling the effects of that later on in life.

    March 5, 2014 at 10:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • nepawoods

      It's been debunked ... but that's not common knowledge.

      March 5, 2014 at 11:03 | Report abuse |
    • Rusty

      I am 85 Matt and have lived on red meat all my life – still work on the farm, and take no pills or drugs. Where do you get this " common knowledge" bit from? You like so many others have been deceived by commercial interests in carbohydrate businesses.

      March 5, 2014 at 11:15 | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Whenever an argument begins with 'it's common knowledge", it usually means that the theory of government scientists that have been rammed down our throats all theses years....
      Eat normal foods. Steer clear of processed crap and fast foods. Stay active.
      Gov't science pushes an agenda that I'm not interested in.

      March 5, 2014 at 11:33 | Report abuse |
    • Meat eater

      Your DNA and thoughts/stress have much more to do with illness than any diet changes. Eating a reasonable diet of meats, fruits, and vegetables will serve just fine. I have relatives who ate huge amounts of meat (bacon, steaks, hamburger, pork and beef sausage and lived into their 100's. Don't believe every study you see.

      March 5, 2014 at 11:33 | Report abuse |
    • SB

      @Rusty, and anyone whose thought process resembles his, I ask you to consider this: If you or someone you know is a smoker and does not die as a direct result of smoking, does that invalidate all the medical findings which strongly indicate that smoking is a killer?

      I certainly hope you answer with, "Of course not." I would further hope that you then go on to enjoy a moment of realization, in which it becomes apparent to you that anecdotal exceptions do not disprove a rule. Do you follow me?

      March 5, 2014 at 12:05 | Report abuse |
    • Beavis

      SB, you're a gigantic tool. There's a cause and death effect for anything that can tangibly be done in this world. So, what should we do about that? If you initiate exercise too quickly you can have a heart attack and die. If you never exercise you atrophy and die. If you eat a specific food in moderation for x time you die, if you don't eat it you die, if you eat too much you die, etc. Get over it.

      March 5, 2014 at 12:18 | Report abuse |
    • AJinFLA

      I'm 43 years old- I run 5 miles in 45 minutes, bench 280, am 110 over 60 with a resting pulse of about 55. I'm on no medications anymore, at one time I was 40 pounds overweight started developing the symptoms of diabetes. I lost the weight, I'm in shape and I eat about 2 pounds of red meat a week. Kiss off.

      March 5, 2014 at 12:21 | Report abuse |
    • SB

      Beavis, clearly you're one of those unfortunates who is incited to anger whenever you're asked to think. It's not your fault and I pity you. But even as I pity you, I implore you, for your own sake, to resist the anger impulse and allow your brain to do its proper job. Actually think about it, and then tell me if you still believe that spotty and subjective anecdotal evidence somehow outweighs or invalidates the empirical kind.

      March 5, 2014 at 12:25 | Report abuse |
    • Tyler

      SB, because we agree that anecdotal evidence is pretty worthless, here is some non-anecdotal stuff for you to look at if you get the chance.

      1. Micha R, et al. Red and processed meat consumption and risk of incident coronary heart disease, stroke, and diabetes mellitus: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Circulation, 2010.

      2. Rohrmann S, et al. Meat consumption and mortality – results from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. BMC Medicine, 2013.

      3. Alexander DD, et al. Meta-analysis of prospective studies of red meat consumption and colorectal cancer. European Journal of Cancer Prevention, 2011.

      4. Alexander DD, et al. Red meat and colorectal cancer: a critical summary of prospective epidemiologic studies. Obesity Reviews, 2011.

      March 5, 2014 at 12:37 | Report abuse |
    • SB

      Tyler, I think you'll find that I wasn't championing this particular study but rather I was simply trying to drive the point home about the worthlessness of anecdotal evidence in a general sense. I'm pleased to see you and I are on the same page.

      March 5, 2014 at 12:44 | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      @AJinFLA – nice! good job.

      March 5, 2014 at 12:56 | Report abuse |
    • joe

      SB, stop trying to inject reason and rational discussion here; people HATE that (as you can tell). And hey my granddad smoked 3 packs a day and lived a long prosperous life, so I should probably start toking since he "proved" smoking isn't harmful. whoo hooooooo 😉

      March 5, 2014 at 12:57 | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      @Tyler @SB – JFYI – Those Alexander studies show there is NOT a coloration between red meat and colorectal cancer. Current studies indicate colorecal cancer is more generic based.

      March 5, 2014 at 13:22 | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      Yes, I know. I do not believe that red meat is bad like very one makes it out to be 🙂

      March 5, 2014 at 13:29 | Report abuse |
  5. Dr. Bozz

    Make sure to listen to your doctor and big pharma. Take all those pills. It's in your best interest!!!

    March 5, 2014 at 10:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • nepawoods

      A healthy customer ... is not a customer.

      March 5, 2014 at 11:01 | Report abuse |
    • JT

      The point is to make lifestyle changes, not pop pills.

      March 5, 2014 at 11:26 | Report abuse |
    • Tyler

      JT thats exactly what he's saying

      March 5, 2014 at 12:28 | Report abuse |
    • joe

      Good grief, not the silly "duude it's a conspiracy" bit again. Seems some people watch too many movies.

      March 5, 2014 at 12:58 | Report abuse |
  6. Juergen

    I'm 63. Any damage that's going to happen from meat / too much protein has already been done.

    Just the other night, left unsupervised by the wife, I fixed a pot of baked beans, chili with meat and good hot dogs cut into bite sized chunks.

    Burp.

    March 5, 2014 at 11:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. nepawoods

    "Walter Willett, an epidemiologist at Harvard's School of Public Health, says not much should be made of this study's findings."

    Indeed.

    March 5, 2014 at 11:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Trader John

    I'd like to know where the meat for this study came from. Was it organically grown? Or was it the commercial grade poison that most people still purchase? Maybe the problem in the meat is something that shouldn't be there in the first place.

    March 5, 2014 at 11:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Steve

      Great point. The chemical composition of a grain fed steak verses a free range steak is gigantic. Us grillers can see and taste the obvious differences.

      March 5, 2014 at 11:15 | Report abuse |
    • Jesse

      This was a sponsered study by a company that is working on a plant based diet program. The results are skewed and misinterperated for a reason.

      March 5, 2014 at 14:55 | Report abuse |
  9. paul

    Don't do this... But "don't NOT" do this for too long... What the F#@K is that? Take a stand you f#@k.

    March 5, 2014 at 11:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Rusty

    People are not mice. How many times have we heard about "breakthrough treatments" and when reading a bit further find there are only tenuous results conducted on mice? And then we never hear anymore. It is really diisengenuous to link results in mice to humans

    March 5, 2014 at 11:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • SB

      Rusty, one of the most compelling reasons medical research often begins with mice is because of a high degree of genetic compatibility between them and us. Because of this, many conditions, illnesses, and treatments can be studied using mice as a perfectly good stand-in for human subjects.

      The reason you "haven't heard back" from whatever study you think you remember reading is because either the initial results didn't blossom into something more, or because the research is ongoing.

      You have to try to keep in mind that there's often a tremendous and critically important difference between what you think you know based on what you think you remember hearing and whatever conclusions you may have drawn from it, and the actual state of any given bit of ongoing scientific research.

      March 5, 2014 at 12:09 | Report abuse |
  11. bheiken

    Read "The China Study" by T. Colin Campbell. Also, I'm curious what basis there is for the statement: "But after 65, you may need that extra protein to protect your body from becoming frail"? That seems like it was just thrown in as an afterthought by the article's author given that frailty was clearly not part of the study.

    March 5, 2014 at 11:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. JB

    Anyone that thinks they're getting out alive from this life gig is delusional, that being said you can and should do what you can to enable your quality of life when you can. Too much of ANYTHING is usually bad for you, but giving up everything that these fad driven researchers suggest makes for a laborious last few years. I'll take my rib eye medium rare, just a quarter pound or less and fewer times a year.

    March 5, 2014 at 11:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Tyler

    ^Lol The China Study..

    March 5, 2014 at 11:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. paizleysun

    From the study: http://www.cell.com/cell-metabolism/abstract/S1550-4131%2814%2900062-X#Results

    Human Population

    The study population included 6,381 adults ages 50 and over from NHANES III, a nationally representative, cross-sectional study. Our analytic sample had a mean age of 65 years and is representative of the United States population in ethnicity, education, and health characteristics (Table S1).

    On average, subjects consumed 1,823 calories, of which the majority came from carbohydrates (51%), followed by fat (33%) and protein (16%), with most of it (11%) derived from animal protein. The percent of calorie intake from protein was used to categorize subjects into a high protein group (20% or more of calories from proteins), a moderate protein group (10%–19% of calories from proteins), and a low protein group (less than 10% of calories from proteins).

    Mortality follow-up was available for all NHANES III participants through linkage with the National Death Index up until 2006 (DHHS, 2001). This provided the timing and cause of death. The follow-up period for mortality covered 83,308 total person-years over 18 years, with 40% overall mortality, 19% cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality, 10% cancer mortality, and about 1% diabetes mortality.

    March 5, 2014 at 11:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. manyote

    What am I going to do with my 'True Carnivore' card?

    March 5, 2014 at 11:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Tyler

    So according to the study, they put these three groups of people on their controlled diet (low protein, medium protein, and high protein) for a grand total of.... Wait for it..... 24 hours!!! Then they did an 18 year follow up to determine how they died, and from there determined whether low protein or high protein groups had more cancer and CVD...
    Hmm... Seems like a great study to me!

    March 5, 2014 at 11:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ryan

      Its even worse then that. Not only was it just 24 hours, it was just a survey. No actual measurements, they just ASKED people what they ate!

      March 5, 2014 at 13:36 | Report abuse |
  17. Artemis MA

    I seriously doubt quality meat (I'm not talking about deli meat) would or could have have any causal effect on diabetes. It's the buns and the sugar, folks.

    March 5, 2014 at 12:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Parker Martin

      Spoken like a not-so-enlightened meat eater.

      March 5, 2014 at 12:08 | Report abuse |
  18. Parker Martin

    This is the most confusing "study" I've ever read. More protein is bad? But it's good? But not if it's meat? But only after a certain age? Please, CNN, choose your writers more carefully. If there is a true essence to this article, it got lost in the confusing and often-contradictory language. What's the bottom line? Not to eat meat? To eat more veggie protein? Or to eat less of both/either during our lives? If I were to base my diet on this article, I'd be walking around my kitchen table indefinitely, mumbling to myself and starving.

    March 5, 2014 at 12:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Lemon

    I don't have a problem with the consumption of meat, but i do have a problem with how it is produced in this country. We should be ashamed we treat other living beings in a such ways. So any meat that goes on my plate has had its life in the wild. Not raised in factory farmed hell.

    March 5, 2014 at 12:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Parker Martin

      Excellent point. I am a vegetarian, but I have complete respect for meat-eaters who make the kinds of choices you do.

      March 5, 2014 at 12:07 | Report abuse |
    • Tyler

      Pastured Grass-fed organic meat tastes infinitely better, too. More humane, healthier, tastier... What more could you want right?

      March 5, 2014 at 12:13 | Report abuse |
  20. Mark Wells

    Whatever.

    March 5, 2014 at 12:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. kfromaz

    Best advice, stop eating!

    March 5, 2014 at 12:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Jim Nasium

    "Don't eat meat, but don't stay away from meat too long" Can these studies make up their minds. Just enjoy yourself in moderation. A daily burger is not wise at any age but a weekend bbq here and there won't kill you either.

    March 5, 2014 at 12:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Sdw

    Articles that "warn" others what not to eat are NOT for the general populace, but those that are overweight, obese, and need help in these areas. The media needs to stop generalizing eating habits as though this article is meant for all mankind. This is why I rarely even read this section anymore.

    March 5, 2014 at 12:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. DD

    Seriously? Your article implies that protein is only absorbed from meat. Stupid. Do some research on alternative diets. Nobody "needs" meat, there are more plant based proteins than you could imagine. Ask a Vegan!

    March 5, 2014 at 12:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • SB

      You should consider reading it again since you completely failed the first time.

      March 5, 2014 at 12:18 | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      It is actually pretty difficult to get all of your nutrients in as a vegan due to the anti-nutrients and incomplete amino acid profiles in plant-based foods. Not impossible, but very difficult. You have to have an extremely diversified selection of plants in order to do so.

      March 5, 2014 at 12:19 | Report abuse |
    • Anonymous

      "Anti-nutrients"? Really? Rice + Beans = complete protein. Quinoa = complete protein. Edamame (soybeans) = complete protein. Vegans do just fine.

      March 5, 2014 at 12:34 | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      Sorry but rice and beans is not complete. Legumes have lots of anti-nutrients that are not negated by adding rice. You can do a 5 minute Google search to find out for yourself. Legumes are actually a very poor source of protein. G of protein is one thing... How much your body can actually use is another. Lentils, for example, are extremely high in protein but are missing an essential amino acid (which one exactly slips my mind right now) which pretty much prevents you from absorbing 90% of the protein in the Lentils.
      Soy protein has very low bioavailability, thus why body builders do not use it and instead opt for whey, casein, and egg.

      March 5, 2014 at 12:46 | Report abuse |
    • Anonymous

      Jack, here are the results of my 5 minute Google search–all of which state that rice and beans, together make up a complete protein. Anyway, enjoy your steak. No judgment here. 🙂

      http://www.livestrong.com/article/351077-the-protein-in-rice-beans/
      http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/rice-black-beans-healthy-5936.html
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rice_and_beans

      March 5, 2014 at 13:21 | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      http://www.yogitrition.com/why-you-need-to-soak-your-grains-beans-nuts-and-seeds/

      Seems like you missed one. Actually a lot. But here is one 🙂
      There is a reason why there exists a market for sprouted products. The solution is not just to add rice.

      And this is a quick article on amino acid profiles. Like I said, you can easily overcome the amino acid deficiency by eating complementary proteins. Not impossible but something to consider.
      http://www.livestrong.com/article/543944-do-lentils-contain-all-nine-essential-amino-acids/#page=1

      March 5, 2014 at 14:59 | Report abuse |
    • Anonymous

      Just wanted to point out that the first article you sited advocates a whole plant-based foods diet (i.e., a healthy vegan diet without oils and processed foods). And yes, I am aware of the benefits of soaking and its effects on phytic acid. And, I have seen claims about oxalates inhibiting calcium absorption. (I figured this is what you meant by "anti-nutrients".) And, I agree that sprouted grains are beneficial. Ezekiel 4:9 bread is great.

      March 5, 2014 at 15:27 | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      I figured you would particularly like that part if I pulled it directly from from that site. Now if a site that advocates an all vegetarian diet says that anti-nutrients are something to consider, then they're probably.... Something to consider. Most people do not buy sprouted products or soak them themselves. Anti-nutrients are one thing, but plants are notorious for having incomplete amino acid profiles. I never said you can't be healthy on a plant-based diet, just that there are many other things to consider when you are vegetarian or vegan, such as breaking down anti-nutrients and ensuring you get a complete amino acid profile. 🙂 I think you are misunderstanding my comment.

      March 5, 2014 at 16:42 | Report abuse |
  25. BrianA

    Things to consider:
    ~Fresh meat or cured with nitrite/nitrates?
    Breaded/fried chicken or fish?
    What industrial seed oils are used during cooking?
    Grilled, seared on high heat or braised at low temp?
    What was eaten with the meat (hot dog on bun with ketchup or beef braised with vegetables as beef stew)?
    As Walter Willet suggested they do not distinguish between fish, poultry and other meats.

    March 5, 2014 at 12:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Melissa

    I may die early but there's no way in hell that I'm going to put down the meat.

    March 5, 2014 at 12:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Danilushka Ozera

    Moderation i the key. This hyperbole is all about generating "click" revenue and not about informing consumers.

    March 5, 2014 at 12:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. smartaz

    I bet I could do a study that shows an increase risk of being struck dead by an automobile among joggers. I'm not sure the conclusion would be to not go jogging.

    March 5, 2014 at 12:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Mabel

    Put down the meat? I thought sex was good for you!

    March 5, 2014 at 12:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Sevenless

    "However, this risk was only seen in those who got their protein from animal sources such as meat, eggs and cheese; the link disappeared if the protein came from plants, such as nuts, seeds and beans."

    So with this control, it's not protein that is responsible, it's something else associated with animal products. Unless they want to argue that there are toxic proteins found from common animal sources that are absent in plants causing this problem (not likely).
    I find it odd that they didn't try to explain why the risk vanishes with the plant-derived protein. Furthermore, that they continue to emplasize that it is the >protein< that is the major problem here, despite this evidence.

    March 5, 2014 at 12:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Jay

    I "put down the meat" when I was 22 and have been a happy and healthy vegetarian/vegan ever since, and I'm 52. Both of my kids have been veg since birth and were always much healthier than their peers. Cancer and heart disease both run in my family, but diet plays a major role in health. And if that doesn't convince you, visit a factory farm. My colon and my conscience are clear!! 🙂

    March 5, 2014 at 12:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Denhunter

      The only mammals designed to be vegetarians have 4 legs and at least two separate stomachs. Or they puke their food back into their mouths to eat it again. You just cannot live and function normally if your diet is exclusively vegetarian, unless you are taking large amounts of supplements. To subject a child to a strict vegetarian diet is abuse. Fish, chicken or other fowl if you are so offended by red meat. But don't expect high IQ scores in your little bovine.

      March 5, 2014 at 14:04 | Report abuse |
  32. Ykuos

    Who wrote this article? Fire them from the human race for stupidity.

    March 5, 2014 at 13:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Dorkus Maximus

    Wait, I thought the human body evolved over millions of years to eat a mostly meat diet. That's why grains and sugars (carbs) cause such problems. Now we're told to avoid the meat as well? What then should we eat?

    March 5, 2014 at 13:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Anonymous2

    Read the books, "Grain Brain" and "Wheat Belly" – want to know what's really killing us....do you ever ask yourself why the numbers of diabetics, obese and people with alzheimer are rising? Carbs and sugar...which of course, are addiciting and VERY big business. People are frying out their bodies with these constantly elevated glucose and insulin levels.

    I just had this argument with someone at work – as I took a bite of my grass-fed beef and vegetable soup, my vegan coworker, bit into their man-made, manufactured protein bar with 27 ingredients...and a whopping 64 grams of carbohydrates/12 grams of protein. This person argued that the bar was healthier than the soup simply for being meat-free. Ummmm, all the soup contained was: grass-feed beef (which also made the broth too), brussel sprouts, broccoli, kale salt and pepper. Four ingredients, not counting the salt and pepper.

    Oh and by the way, I was satisfied until dinner, he was back snacking an hour and a half later when he "could feel his sugar getting low"...on two bananas (approx 27 carbs each) and another smaller vegan protein bar (25 carbs). All told that little snack had a total of 79 grams of carbs and 64 grams of sugar.

    I will keep the meat, thank you.

    March 5, 2014 at 13:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. KieranH

    Ridiculous......

    March 5, 2014 at 13:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Colin

    Did you ever think that maybe the QUALITY of the meat that people are eating has something to do with it. Most people turn a blind eye and just go about eating what is provided, not questioning things like how these chickens have become so large they can't even walk.

    The study linked increased meat consumption to raised levels of IGF-1. Umm what do you think it is that these animals are being pumped with?! that could explain how that ends up in our bodies. Even besides hormones and antibiotics, they wash most meat in an ammonia solution before its packed. I see many people at the store complain about the price of meat then go right for the lowest price item. That means the healthy items (Organic, Pastured, Grass-fed, Non-GMO) are out of the question for them. Stop worrying about the couple extra bucks you're paying for the healthy stuff and start considering what your actually putting inside your body.

    March 5, 2014 at 13:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. creationbased

    Hmm, I'm guessing that the greatest cause of decreased mortality is VEGETABLES, while the increase in mortality is caused by fewer vegetables and meat quality. I doubt protein or fat has very much to do with it.

    March 5, 2014 at 13:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Ian Welch

    No matter how the food industry spins it, you can’t get away from the deluge of news regarding the horrendous quality of meat in the U.S. The sources are not bloggers and hippies. The studies are peer-reviewed with massive study groups. Our own government, the last place you go for unbiased opinions, has recently made overt moves towards a diet less reliant on animals. No amount of lobbying can hold back the stream of research confirming the obvious. Meat is a “killing industry” for everyone involved.

    Right off the bat let me identify my agenda. I had quadruple bypass surgery at the age of 40, in 2011. Prior to that day, I ate meat once a day. I have done my research and I directly attribute my heart disease to the Standard American Diet. In the recovery ward, I was fed sausages, eggs, milk and turkey and slowly began to understand the bubble I was living in. By a miracle, I was presented with a very simple solution to my immediate problem.

    Animals are a source of protein. They are not the only source of protein.

    The animals being eaten today by Americans are in terrible shape, and represent a very poor quality of nutrition. Organic, free range, lean… blah, blah, blah. Six states have made it a crime to film animal suffering because they absolutely don’t want you to see beyond the pretty cellophane package in your freezer. The meat is inedible. If you saw the cow or chicken you are about to eat, you wouldn’t touch it, much less eat it.

    “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian.” – Sir Paul McCartney

    Do you honestly feel that an animal raised in a pen/crate, with no exercise, no sunlight, surrounded by feces, eating byproduct feed, injected with growth hormones, antidepressants and massive amounts of antibiotics, then slaughtered, sprayed with chlorine, full of death stress hormones is a good food decision? If so, don’t read any further.

    Not eating meat is not a casual decision anymore; it’s a matter of life or death.

    Full comment: http://wholefed.org/2013/05/01/six-reasons-to-give-up-meat-adopt-a-plant-based-diet/

    Ian Welch

    March 5, 2014 at 13:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Travis

      You could always buy good quality meat instead of the factory farmed kind. That would be one other solution!
      Cage-free means the chicken isn't in a cage, but doesnt specify how much room they actually get to roam around. Buy pastured locally sourced meat and poultry from farms you can actually visit and see for yourself!

      I'm glad you were able to recover from your surgery and are doing better now!
      Just as a topic for discussion or food for thought, i guess, when you say that you had quadruple bypass surgery and, prior to that day, you had meat once a day, how do you know that it was the meat that led to your CVD, or if it was meat in conjunction with something else, like refined carbohydates, or if it was something completely unrelated like, i dont know, maybe low fat dairy? It's easy to automatically put the blame on meat because the media has made it out as such, but when you look objectively at it all, how can you really, confidently, beyond a shadow of doubt, say that it was the meat?

      March 5, 2014 at 19:48 | Report abuse |
  39. Autumntribe

    Everyone's pipes run different. Also factor in genetics and diet in general. Let's be honest, food is not the quality it used to be.More children have food alergies than ever before. Much food is being genetically alltered. I happen to eat meat, just more quality cuts and less processed meats, although I still have some occasionaly. I am eating more veggies and getting of the couch. Like most comments, moderation is the key.

    March 5, 2014 at 13:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. furianxo

    I'll keep my meat, thanks.

    March 5, 2014 at 13:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. ScottCA

    We really don't need all these tips. All one needs to do is eat in moderation, making sure to vary your diet, and not consume excessive amounts of any one thing.

    March 5, 2014 at 14:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Dr My Bottomside

    Someone did this sensational study so they could get a PhD thesis based on which they can get a job after which they can post on CNN comments board just like the most of us.

    March 5, 2014 at 14:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Clown

    I eat mostly chicken, ham, oysters and shrimp, not very big on red meat.

    March 5, 2014 at 14:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Harald

    "However, this risk was only seen in those who got their protein from animal sources such as meat, eggs and cheese"
    This is kind of nonsense.
    One cannot draw a line between animal and plant proteins. Each organism contains many different proteins and there is no such thing as ONE animal derived or ONE plant derived protein.
    Furthermore, proteins are made of amino acids and those building blocks are used in both, plant and animal derived proteins.
    What could be argued is that perhaps there is one particular animal (specify which animal) that produces a protein that is harmful in the way described in the article. But then, that's not what the article is talking about.
    As with many other "science" articles on CNN, the writer is either clueless concerning the topic at hand or purposely mixing science with pseudoscience and nonsense just to make an article more catchy.

    March 5, 2014 at 14:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. ChubbyChaser

    Love all these people who claim to be heavy meat eaters or know people who were heavy meat eaters know somebody who lived healthy into their mid 80's.

    From my experience, you people are full of bologna artery clogging nonsense.

    My grandfather was a butcher back in the day. He owned his own butchery business (yes they existed before big supermarkets tookover) and ate meat every damn day. He had died of heart problems at age 70.

    My stepfather lived in New York most of his life and lived on cheese and meat. He has serious heart problems with a defibrillator and prostate cancer.

    I worked part-time in the medical field as a front desk associate and saw older people coming in for routine blood work. Their blood was cloudy and full of fat. They had high cholesterol and heart problems.

    I'm sorry if most of us are not buying into your meat industry nonsense on eating meat being a good thing.

    March 5, 2014 at 14:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • hjezek@hotmail.com

      Nobody makes a claim that eating only meat is the way to go. Eating only meat would be as bad as eating only apples.
      They key as so often lies in moderation and a balanced nutrition.
      In the long run, any extreme is bad.

      March 5, 2014 at 14:45 | Report abuse |
    • Tyler

      Triglycerides (aka fat in your blood) decreases with fat intake and goes up with carbohydrate intake. Eating red meat and fat does not put fat in your blood, as you are implying.

      March 5, 2014 at 16:56 | Report abuse |
  46. Keith

    And who funded this study?....PETA perhaps????

    March 5, 2014 at 14:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. jack2

    The results of this study tells me they still don't know jack-ship about it.

    March 5, 2014 at 14:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. jzaks

    Eat what you want in moderation and forget all the other nonsense be spouted out there.

    March 5, 2014 at 14:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Michal

    READ the original paper from Cell Metabolism. It's fairly clear.

    March 5, 2014 at 14:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. jack2

    I know strict vegitarians who have never smoked that have died from cancer. Life experience tells me too much of anything is bad for you. Moderation is the key.

    March 5, 2014 at 14:55 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.