Does a high protein diet increase cancer risk, or are we just confusing and scaring the public again?


Does a high protein diet increase cancer risk, or are we just confusing and scaring the public again?

Yesterdays headlines of High-protein diets: Bad for the middle-aged, good for the elderly (read the article here) hit the news wires and paper stands with great fanfare, but is it true, or just scientific data being misused?

For most of us, one study says one thing, another refutes it. An inside source who saw this paper as it was offered for publication initially in another journal that turned it down thought the study was faulty as were the conclusions.

Others who have an excellent understanding of nutrition academically and have taught many doctors about the subject have stated the following;

“It seems illogical to me to avoid the metabolism issues regarding cancer and instead continue the blame game on protein.

In my opinion, to blame protein for cancer is like blaming cholesterol for heart disease, is like blaming a bone-out-of-place for all human ailments. None of these claims are supported by the altered metabolic states associated with chronic disease.

For example, eating animal protein is not the cause of obesity. One can live on grains and become obese. What does this have to do with
anything??? The site Brett recommended has a page that focusses on body fatness and cancer, because elevated body fatness is a cause of

Understanding excess body fat chemistry is a better approach than blaming protein. Excess body fat is a problem for over 2/3s of Americans. Metabolic syndrome creates a metabolic state that drives cancer expression:

Notice the image in this paper, which demands that we abort the notion that animal protein is a key cause of cancer:

Unfortunately, understanding cancer chemistry is beyond our educational level in many ways, so we are lucky to have papers written like the one above to help make sense of things. Here is another similar paper although it is still a bit too complicated in several spots:

An earlier one from the same guy:

If people choose to look at these papers, it will become apparent that blaming protein is an easier option. It is just not a rationale option.”

So, as a member of the public, what should you believe? Many diets have recommend low carbohydrate and high protein intake, to good effect both in weight and in general health. While there certainly foods and proteins (including meats) that are of better (free range type of animals) vs. the typical commercial corn fed (these animals do not naturally eat corn) or antibiotic raised (antibiotics are used less and less because they do not help raise better animals) or other artificial means of raising livestock such as farmed fish which has protein of lesser quality than fish found in the wild.

What should you eat? In general, a mix of greens, fresh vegetables, better quality proteins of meats, nuts, and fish that are mercury free. We should minimize things such as cheese or dairy however, anything in moderation should be fine. Also, be aware that breads and pasta’s are carbohydrate heavy and should be eaten in moderation and should also be of high quality.

As a country, we should rethink the way we teach people about food. Fresh is always better, even if it is prepared by a supermarket, as many of these foods are expertly prepared by chefs (think Wegmans prepared foods as well as others).

The calorie count is also important, since most people have a poor understanding of how many calories they are taking in with their meal. The other day, I was in House of Pancakes looking at their omelette selections. I was surprised at their breakfast omelettes calorie count with the side of pancakes having calorie counts in excess of 1000 calories. This would give one pause now that they have that information. In Europe, many foods come from the farm to the restaurant or market quickly, and the food is fresh. Perhaps, we need to think about this instead of how we can create ethanol from corn and subsidize farmers to now grow things. More quality foods will in the end result in healthier Americans, rather than avoiding protein.

One other source who is quite knowledgeable but outside of the mainstream in thinking about cancer said that German Medicine has known for years that most cancers are borne by viruses and there are ways to treat it that are effective, reliable and does not include surgery, radiation and chemo. For most of us, this is hard to believe since we are constantly indoctrinated in the idea of all the research that has been done on cancer (or on treatments that are expensive and convoluted) and we are bombarded by the ads from Sloan Kettering and their sympathetic doctor talking about cutting out the disease. The truth is that our current ways of doing cancer treatment has a low success rate over the long term, having people deal with the constant monitoring and fear of a resurgence of the original cancer moths or years later after the process is no longer in remission. Perhaps, we need to get out of the business of treating cancer (Sloan) and get in the less profitable business of curing it. Just my 2 cents.

What do you think? As always, I value your opinion.