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Americans’ Protein-Rich Diets May Up Heart Disease Risk

Findings may have important public health implications for chronic disease prevention

FRIDAY, March 6, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Plant-based diets lower in sulfur amino acids (SAA) are associated with a reduced risk for cardiometabolic diseases, according to a study published online Feb. 3 in EClinicalMedicine.

Zhen Dong, Dr.P.H., from Pennsylvania State University in Hershey, and colleagues analyzed data from 11,576 adults participating in the Third National Examination and Nutritional Health Survey Study (1988-1994). The association between consumption of SAA and risk factors for cardiometabolic diseases was examined.

The researchers found that mean SAA consumption was more than 2.5-fold higher than the estimated average requirement. When adjusting for other factors, higher intake of SAA, methionine, and cysteine were associated with significant increases in composite cardiometabolic disease risk scores, independent of protein intake, and with several individual risk factors including serum cholesterol, glucose, uric acid, blood urea nitrogen, and insulin and glycated hemoglobin.

“For decades it has been understood that diets restricting sulfur amino acids were beneficial for longevity in animals,” a coauthor said in a statement. “This study provides the first epidemiologic evidence that excessive dietary intake of sulfur amino acids may be related to chronic disease outcomes in humans.”

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