While high protein diets have become increasingly popular, new findings suggest they may not represent the optimal dietary strategy for preventing heart failure (HF) in middle-aged men.
As part of a new study published in Circulation: Heart Failure, researchers examined data on 2,441 Finnish men aged 42 to 60 enrolled in the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. Protein intake at baseline was assessed with four-day dietary records.
During the mean follow-up of 22.2 years, 334 incident HF cases occurred. The authors found eating higher amounts of protein was associated with a slightly elevated risk for heart failure compared to those who ate less protein. When the researchers compared men who ate the most protein to those who ate the least, they found the risk of heart failure was 49 per cent higher for dairy protein, 43 per cent high for animal protein and 33 per cent higher for all sources of protein.
“As this is one of the first studies reporting on the association between dietary protein and heart failure risk, more research is needed before we know whether moderating protein intake may be beneficial in the prevention of heart failure,” said author, Heli E.K. Virtanen.