High Protein Intake May Not Prevent Heart Failure

Although high-protein diets have become popular, they may not be the optimal dietary strategy in preventing heart failure (HF), according to results of a new study.

To assess HF risk in the context of protein intake, the researchers conducted the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study, which included 2441 men aged 42 to 60 years at baseline in 1984 to 1989.


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For their analysis, the researchers assessed 4-day dietary records and estimated HF risk via Cox proportional hazard ratios.

Over a mean 22.2-year follow-up period, 334 incident HF events occurred. Analysis indicated that higher total protein intake was marginally associated with a higher risk of HF.

“The associations between specific types and sources of protein with incident HF were consistent with this overall finding, although not all associations reached statistical significance,” the researchers wrote.

“Our results suggest that higher protein intake may be associated with a higher risk of HF in middle-aged and older men. Further studies in diverse study populations are needed to elucidate the role of protein intake in the pathogenesis of HF.”

—Amanda Balbi


Virtanen HEK, Voutilainen S, Koskinen TT, Mursu J, Tuomainen TP, Virtanen JK. Intake of different dietary proteins and risk of heart failure in men: The Kuopio ischaemic heart disease risk factor study. 2018;11:e004531.



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