Study finds high-protein diet increases risk of heart attack

A new study from the University of Washington School of Medicine has found that while a high-protein diet may have excellent benefits for weight loss, there is also one major potential negative effect: an increased risk of heart attack,media reported. The problem is associated with arterial plaques, especially unstable plaques that block arterial flow.

Study finds high-protein diet increases risk of heart attack


Although diets are varied, doctors generally recommend that overweight patients maintain a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet to lose weight. This diet usually achieves very effective weight loss and helps control blood sugar and appetite. However, it is also controversial.

Recent studies have highlighted the potential damage this diet can have to the kidneys, especially for obese patients. A new study also raises questions about heart health, that a high-protein diet may lead to an increased risk of heart attack.

The researchers found that this diet caused dieters to have more plaques in their arteries, especially unstable plaques, which are more likely to rupture and eventually lead to arterial blockages.

Compared to mice with a high-fat, high-protein diet, the accumulation of unstable plaques increased. When mice ate 46 percent of their protein a day, they produced 30 percent more arterial plaques, even if they didn’t gain weight like high-fat, low-protein mice.

At the heart of the problem is the death of macrophages, an immune cell that usually removes plaques from the arteries. The researchers found that plaques in high-protein mice were “macrophages” containing a large number of dead immune cells, paving the way for an eventual heart attack.