Beware adults age 65 and below who are fond of eating red meat and dairy products – a recent scientific study revealed that diets high in animal protein can cause four times the likelihood of cancer or diabetes.
A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences concluded that only humans are the only species highly at risk of developing cancer among other members of the animal kingdom. This is primarily due to excessive intake of a sugar called Neu5Gc found in most animals, which triggers an immune response causing inflammation.
An experiment on mice that mimicked the behavior of animal proteins actually work inside the human body revealed how antibodies fail to block Neu5Gc, perceived as a foreign invader. But regular intake of red meat rich in Neu5Gc would cause chronic inflammation, then leading to the activation of cancer cells.
Since humans are not born strict carnivores, there is no way they can prevent the negative effects of Neu5GC sugar in the body. However, it is also impossible to entirely eliminate red meat on daily diet. Scientists advise adults at risk with cancer to limit animal proteins and instead, replace it with proteins from beans and other green vegetables.
Results of a study conducted by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey suggest that people should ideally eat high protein foods at age 65 and up, when they are all ready losing weight and the body is frail. From this age category, 28 percent had reduced the risk of death by any cause, while 60 percent reduced risk of cancer, according to the journal Cell Metabolism.
Advancements in nutritional studies like these pose question on the efficacy of fad diets such as Paleo and Atkins, which both advocate for high protein meals to boost health and longevity.
But Valter Longo, director of the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California, advise people to restrict their protein intake to 0.8 gram for every kilogram of body weight. Longo added the most ideal source of protein is plants; albeit, it is not absolutely harmful to eat red meat only at conservative amount.
The people who took part on the study averaged 1,823 calories per day with the following composition: 51 percent for carbohydrates, 33 percent for fat, and 16 percent for protein, where two-thirds of which came from red meat.
Gunter Kuhnle, a food nutrition scientist at Reading University, cautioned the public not to take the advice too literal. He explained it would be irrational to prevent people from eating red meat to avoid diseases, when they can consume it moderately and still stay away from risks of cancer and diabetes.