The problem with protein

| Post published on July 29, 2020
minute reading time

Disease link with animal protein explained

Going vegan isn’t only good for animals and the environment, but good for your health, too. Diets rich in meat and dairy are linked to heart disease, strokes, diabetes and some cancers and people who eat lots of animal foods also tend to live shorter lives. A new study suggests that the sulphur-containing amino acids found in animal protein may be partly to blame. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein but ones that contain sulphur, typically found in high amounts in eggs, fish, red meat and chicken, are linked to a higher risk of disease. This study, published in the Lancet’s EClinicalMedicine looked at over 11,500 adults over six years and found that those eating diets high in sulphur amino acids had higher cholesterol, insulin resistance and blood glucose – increasing their risk of these diseases. Those eating low levels had significantly lower levels of markers and disease. This may explain some of the observed health benefits of a vegan diet and why swapping meat, dairy, fish and eggs for wholegrains, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds can help protect your health.

Dong Z, Gao X, Chinchilli VM et al. 2020. Association of sulfur amino acid consumption with cardiometabolic risk factors: Cross-sectional findings from NHANES III. EClinicalMedicine. 19, 100248.

About the author
Dr. Justine Butler
I joined Viva! as a health campaigner in 2005 after graduating from Bristol University with a PhD in molecular biology. My scientific training helped me research and write numerous reports, guides and fact sheets for Viva! including Meat the Truth, Fish-Free for Life, One in Nine (breast cancer and diet) and the substantial report on the detrimental health effects of consuming dairy; White Lies. This accompanied Viva!’s report The Dark Side of Dairy which spelt out the inherent cruelty of dairy farming. We were the first UK group to take on the dairy industry in this way, and many of our supporters go vegan after reading these reports.

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