High-Protein Diets Can Lead To Heart Failure, New Study Shows
Published in Circulation: Heart Failure, an AHA journal, the study shows that middle-aged men who ate a high-protein diet had up to 49% higher chance of developing heart failure (meaning the body is unable to pump enough blood and oxygen to remain healthy).
Circulation: Heart Failure surveyed 2,441 men aged between 42 and 60 for an average period of 22 years. Over the course of the study, 334 cases of heart failure were diagnosed.
Researchers divided the men into four groups based on what kind of protein they consumed daily:
Men who ate dairy protein had a 49% higher risk of developing heart failure than those who ate the least. Those who ate the most animal protein had a 43% higher risk.
The men who ate all sources of protein were at a 33% higher risk, while those who consumed plant protein had a 17% risk.
Only proteins from fish and eggs were not associated with heart failure risk in this study.
The high-protein diet was made hugely popular by Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution author Dr. Robert Atkins, whose influence landed him a spot on the Time 100 in 2002—the same year he suffered a heart attack and gave his critics fuel to point out the dangers of consuming the high amounts of saturated fat associated with his books (his early books promoted unlimited consumption of fatty red meats and cheeses).
Atkins died in April 2003 after sliding on frozen New York City pavement and striking his head. His widow refused to have an autopsy, but a medical report issued by the New York medical examiner's office one year later showed that Atkins had a history of heart attack, congestive heart failure and hypertension.