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Protein Diets

Ah summer!  The thought of fitting into a bathing suit every summer send some of us into hysterics.  We start planning our perfect summer bodies mid-winter, get serious about exercise early spring, and make some last minute, drastic, diet changes right. about. now.

If you fall into this last category STOP for a moment and rethink your plans. Diets wreck havoc on the system.  Proper weight control without nasty health problems take time, patience and lifestyle changes.  A recent study published in the Journal of Natural Medicine reviewed the dangers of high protein diets such as Atkins and the Paleolithic diets. 

Just over 1600 participants were followed for 18 years under 3 categories: low protein, moderate protein and high protein diets.  The mortality rate and long term health quality were recorded of each individual.  Alongside the human element scientists also conducted studies at the cellular level on yeasts and protein levels in mice. 


High protein diets in people under 60 resulted in higher mortality rates due to heart disease and cancer with a reduction in quality of life through the later years versus those on a moderate to low protein diet.  A low to moderate protein intake saw a reduction in cancer and greater overall quality of life. Also a high protein diet, while under 60 years of age, increased the risk of developing of diabetes’s in later years.

On the flip side for people over 65 the reverse was true.  A higher protein diet reduced the risk of cancer and heart disease.  This may be due to the way the body breaks down and absorbs proteins as we age.

Protein intake through diet should be altered with age.  This is a hard concept to initiate as each of us age differently.  Key point is that a moderate diet balancing all macro nutrients is the best way to maintain health and weight for the long term.

Is there a perfect ratio of macro nutrients?

The general rule of thumb is 51% calories from carbohydrates, 33% calories from fats and 16% calories from protein based on 2000 calories per day. 

If you are ever confused about your dietary needs talk to a family doctor, naturopath or nutritionist. 

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