Can Too much Protein be bad for your heart?
The answer is NO but it depends on how you take your protein. Read on and find out how a high protein diet can be good and bad for the heart.
High protein diets, being bad for the heart is not exactly a myth. It’s just an outdated finding. Around 2001 the American Heart Association or AHA released a statement that high-protein and low-carb diets are bad for the heart. Why? High protein diet usually consists of meat, eggs and dairy products. These are high in saturated fats that can eventually make cholesterol clog the arteries. Also, low carbohydrates also mean low fiber. Fibers are basically carbohydrates and these help the digestive system run smoothly by absorbing fats and cholesterol and getting it out of our system.
A 20 year study, however, proved this theory wrong. In 2006, the Harvard Medical School released a study stating that a high protein diet may actually help the heart by lowering down harmful cholesterol and triglycerides thus lowering down the blood pressure. The explanation is very simple. The Atkins diet, developed by Dr. Robert Atkins around 1972 has the usual meat and steak in it and basically stopping or lessening the consumption of refined carbohydrates, particularly sugar, flour, and high-fructose corn syrup. Now, there are new diets that include high-protein foods from both animal and plant sources that are lower in saturated fat. It goes with chicken and fish, dietary sources of protein include nuts, beans, whole-grain cereals and fat-free dairy products. We don’t get protein only on animal products, a lot of vegetables like legumes, nuts, soy and even carrots are good sources protein and mixing these two will balance the nutrients your body needs.
Moreover, other studies showed that replacing dietary carbohydrates with the right kind of protein can help decrease the risk of getting ischemic heart disease. And what is an Ischemic Heart Disease? Ischemic Heart Disease, most commonly known as Coronary Artery Disease, is a condition in which fatty deposits accumulate in the cells, lining the wall of the coronary arteries. This process is called atherosclerosis which leads to narrowing or hardening of the blood vessels supplying blood to the heart muscle. This results in ischemia (inability to provide adequate oxygen) to heart muscle and this can cause damage to the heart muscle. Complete obstruction of the blood vessel leads to a heart attack (myocardial infarction). Simply put, Ischemia is the restriction of blood supply in the blood vessels due to and we all know protein is the building block of almost everything in our body and that includes blood.
It all boils down to choosing what we eat. A high protein diet doesn’t mean you have to stuff yourself up with ham and steak. There are a lot of alternatives now that are healthy and more practical. If you’re going on a low carb – high protein diet, balance your intake of meat food and vegetable food. You will find a little bit of adjusting is all it takes.