Wake Up Call

Paleo, Atkins-Style Diets May Be Dangerous, Study Shows


You might be turning to a Paleo diet or going on an Atkins kick to help you prepare for the rapidly approaching pool season. However, according to the Huffington Post, those high-protein diets are far more harmful to health than helpful for folks in their middle age, with negative effects being comparable to smoking.

See also: 5 Ways to Go from Crash Diet to Healthy, Long-Term Habit

Although the CDC recommends 46 grams of protein for women and 56 grams of protein for men, meat-centric diets have people consuming a far higher portion of meat than that. A recent study by the University of Southern California's Davis School of Gerontology found that middle-aged individuals with diets high in animal protein have about the same likelihood of developing fatal forms of cancer as regular smokers.

Although all animal proteins, including meat, eggs, cheese, and milk, were found to have contribute to a 74 percent increased risk of death for participants in the study, plant-based proteins like beans, nuts, and lentils were not found to be a contributor in increased health risks.

The silver lining for meat lovers is that once you pass middle age and hit 65, high protein diets can actually be beneficial.

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Heather Hoch is a music, food, and arts writer based in Tucson. She enjoys soup, scotch, Electric Light Orchestra, and walking her dog, Frodo.
Contact: Heather Hoch