When it comes to losing weight and gaining muscle mass, the first thing that comes to our mind is to follow a diet that is rich in protein. Several studies conclude high protein diet is good for your overall health. Although, recent studies question the benefits of such diets and suggest that it might affect the cardiovascular system which infers to the overall health of the heart.
A research was conducted on animals which led to the discovery that rich protein diets increase the risk of cardiovascular problems like atherosclerosis. Recently a similar study for humans was performed to discover the linkage between high protein foods and an increased cardiometabolic risk.
The research showcased that, foods with high sulfur amino acid content which are basically tiny compounds in the protein. They vary in their components, amino acids can have different elements. The high protein diets usually consist of two components of sulfur amino acids which are methionine, an essential amino acid, and cysteine, a semi-essential amino acid.
Amino acids are very crucial for overall fitness and health. The human body gets these from a food source as it can not synthesize essential amino acids, and it cannot make enough of the semi-essential ones. Although, just like every other essential nutrient, excessiveness of amino acids can also lead to a number of problems.
The researchers from Pennsylvania (Penn) State University in State College performed an experiment in which they observed the diets and the health condition of 11,576 individuals. They took the data from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III). The findings were published in EClinicalMedicine which concludes the risk of developing cardiometabolic problems.
The researchers measured the insulin, triglycerides, glucose (sugar) and cholesterol level of each individuals’ blood following a 10–16 hour fast. They also analyzed individuals’ nutrient intake and dietary habits.
The co-author Prof. John Richie explains, “These biomarkers are indicative of an individual’s risk for disease, just as high cholesterol levels are a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, Many of these levels can be impacted by a person’s longer-term dietary habits leading up to the test.”
The body weight was also measured to find out their average requirement. It was discovered that their average intake of sulfur amino acids was approximately 2.5 times higher than their body required.
The co-author Xiang Gao pointed out, “Many people in the U.S. consume a diet rich in meat and dairy products, and the estimated average requirement is only expected to meet the needs of half of the healthy individuals. Therefore, it is not surprising that many are surpassing the average requirement when considering these foods contain higher amounts of sulfur amino acids.”Finally, the research claimed that the participants with higher levels of sulfur amino acid tend to have a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases as they scored more in cardiometabolic risk. They suggest people consume more vegetables and fruit to lower the risk as the result supported some of the beneficial health effects observed in those who eat vegan or other plant-based diets. The research also urges other scientists to study the potential risk involved with dietary amino acids.