Monday, March 24, 2014

High Protein as bad as Cigarettes?

Seen this headline? "Meat, dairy may be as detrimental to your health as smoking cigarettes, study says"
This latest news story on diet and health is the confirmation bias people that are against what our ancestors ate.  One issue I have is the definition of high protein.  I don't know a paleo eater that is in it for the protein.  It's the energy density of the fats that sets ancestral diets from the current un-time-tested dietary fads of today.

The news story from Here reads:

Eating a diet heavy on meat and cheese may be as harmful to you as smoking a cigarette, researchers claim.
A new study, published in Cell Metabolism on March 4, shows that middle-aged people who eat a diet high in animal proteins from milk, meat and cheese are more likely to die of cancer than someone who eats a low-protein diet. The research also showed the people who ate lots of meat and dairy were more likely to die at an earlier age.
"There's a misconception that because we all eat, understanding nutrition is simple. But the question is not whether a certain diet allows you to do well for three days, but can it help you survive to be 100?" study co-author Valter Longo, Edna M. Jones professor of biogerontology at the USC Davis School of Gerontology and director of the USC Longevity Institute in Los Angeles, said in a press release.

Longo had previously done research on a protein that controls a growth hormone called IGF-I, which aids in body growth. Very high levels of IGF-I have been associated with an increased cancer risk. ...
>>> and so on.  The study they cite clearly uses relative percentages, that is to say if a group has one mortality in one group and two mortalities in another group, it's a 100% increase??!!  Makes for great headlines.   Better explained here: 
<For instance, this study found that among the NHANES III participants who were diabetes-free at the study’s onset, those eating the most protein were 73 times more likely to die of diabetes (yikes!)But if we look at the absolute numbers, which are tucked away in a little PDF supplement accompanying the study, we’d see that 0.2 percent of the low-protein group died of diabetes (one person) versus 2.0 percent of the high-protein group. That’s an absolute difference of 1.8 percent, which no longer sounds quite as horrifying.>  
A review of the story by Denise Minger, (author of Death by Food Pyramid) write the following from Here.  Check her stuff out!