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Be careful, too much protein is bad for the heart and arteries

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Be careful, too much protein is bad for the heart and arteries

What is the link between proteins and the heart? This macronutrient is the focus of attention for the its ability to increase lean mass and to control appetite. Just like carbohydrates and fats, they should never be missing from your diet, if you want to avoid consequences.

Link between proteins and the heart: too many increase the risk of cardiovascular events

However, research from the University of Pittsburgh has shown that Getting more than a fifth of your total calories from protein can activate certain cells that clog your arteries, forming plaques that can even block blood flow. This condition significantly increases the risk of stroke e cardiac arrests. You can read the results in the scientific journal Nature Metabolism.


At least a quarter of adults get more than a fifth of their daily calories from protein. Research returns to talk about the need to follow a balanced diet with carbohydrates, fats, fibre, vitamins and mineral salts.

Link between proteins and the heart: how much should you eat to stay healthy?

The guidelines from human nutrition societies talk about 0.83 grams of protein for every kilogram of weight. A man who weighs 80 kilos must eat 66.4 grams per day. They are more or less equivalent to two chicken breast fillets or one and a half salmon fillets. A woman weighing 60 kilos, 49.8. They correspond approximately to one and a half fillets of chicken breast or one of salmon per day. They provide more or less 12% of the total calories you should consume each daytherefore 8 percentage points below the one-fifth share.

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Do many athletes take too many?

The problem, according to the study, is that many people, especially those who go to gyms, take decidedly more, even triple. However, it should be remembered that Proteins have the same calories as carbohydrates. Anyone who wants to lose weight must take this into account.

What happens in the digestive phase of proteins?

Once consumed, proteins are degraded into amino acids that are used by our body to repair muscle fibers. But if you don’t do sport, unused proteins are filtered by the kidneys and excreted in the urine.

The study findings explain that when the body breaks down high levels of protein, activates a type of white blood cell, known as macrophages. If they accumulate they can produce plaques that lead toatherosclerosis.

Research on the link between proteins and the heart

The researchers fed protein meals to 23 people by taking blood samples immediately before and three hours after eating. Each of them had fasted for the previous twelve hours.

The results showed that protein consumption causes an increase in leucinean amino acid, and of another molecule that stimulates the immune system. This molecule activates macrophages that increase inflammation.

The limitations of the study

Some experts not involved in the research argue that relying on a single meal is not enough to develop a theory. However, a diet high in protein can certainly trigger an inflammatory response that contributes to the risk of cardiovascular disease, especially if it involves animal proteins.

It should also be remembered that meat also contains saturated fats which are bad for the cardiovascular system if you eat in excess. You should never exceed 10% of your total daily calories in saturated fat.

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