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Meat and Cheese Study: High Consumption May Lead to Early Death Risk

Image: Meat and Cheese Study: High Consumption May Lead to Early Death Risk

By Alexandra Ward   |   Wednesday, 05 Mar 2014 10:28 AM

According to a new study, a diet high in meat and cheese consumption could lead to an earlier death for people in their 50s and early 60s.

University of Southern California researchers studied adults between the ages of 50 and 65 who ate diets high in animal protein and found that those people are 74 percent more likely to succumb to an early death than those that get their protein from non-animal sources, according to the study published this week in the journal Cell Metabolism. More than 6,000 American adults were included in the analysis.

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Diets rich in animal protein like meat and cheese reportedly elevate the level of the hormone IGF-1 in the body, which in excess can lead to cancer, diabetes, and even death.

"The main message is to go to a safe level of protein and try as much as possible to have those proteins come from plant-based products," Dr. Valter D. Longo, director of the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California and lead author of the study, told ABC News. "The [old] advice was that everyone should have high protein. That's not the case."

Health experts have long advocated the benefits of plant-based proteins from foods like legumes, quinoa, and vegetables.

"The evidence is overwhelming and incredibly consistent that people who eat plant-based products have a reduced risk of death," Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, told ABC News. "By and large, the main message here is kind of what it always was: If you shift to a diet more about plant-based foods, you are likelier to live healthier and experience less chronic disease."

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