I just come across a high quality review about the effect of a high protein diet on mortality rates. I'll put the full reference at the end for those who want to read it first hand (no, they're not geeks!) The total number of studies had nearly 4000 patients across 36 different studies. The fascinating aspect about these studies was that most patients were in the older age range (average age 42-86 across the studies). They weren't 20 something gym bunnies drinking milky protein shakes as they flex in front of a mirror. Patients were divided into those who take a high protein supplement/diet and those who don't; and they were followed up for up to 2 years. So what did these bright sparks find out?
Those on a high protein diet enjoyed higher quality of life (they tested various things like strength, flexibility and exercise tolerance)
Those on high protein diet enjoyed higher energy intake and gained more weight (but the results didn’t specify if this was through muscle gain as i personally suspect)
If both groups were admitted to hospital, the high protein group suffered fewer complications, stayed for a shorter time and were less likely to be re-admitted. But there was no difference in the death-rate between the two groups.
So the new appears to be good for the high-protein takers. From the dawn of history, humans have been surviving on meat, the most abundant protein source; and it hasn’t done us any harm. But i would still caution against having a steak 3 times a day. High protein diets are particularly good for people with weak kidneys, liver problems or conditions like gout. Normally your meal should be a 1/3 carbohydrate; 1/3 protein and 1/3 fats. I would still stick to this. But i would add a protein as a snack between meals. This increases your protein intake to a reasonable level without going over the top. Good quality proteins include things like whey proteins. And don’t forget protein is fantastic at filling you up. Till next time Reference: Cawood AL, Elia M, Stratton RJ. Systematic review and meta-analysis of the effects of high protein oral nutritional supplements. Ageing Research Reviews 2012; 11(2): 278-296.