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Too Much Protein Actually Damages Your Arteries, Scientists Find

Too Much Protein Actually Damages Your Arteries, Scientists Find
Too Much Protein Actually Damages Your Arteries, Scientists Find

Image by Getty / Futurism

Meat enthusiasts are screaming “Where’s the beef?” after a new study came out in Nature Metabolism that suggests that eating excessive amounts of protein is bad for your arteries.

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine came to this conclusion after they analyzed biological data from human participants who ate protein, in addition to studying cellular behavior in petri dishes. 

They found that eating over 22 percent of daily dietary calories from protein can activate macrophages, a type of immune cell, to increase the process of atherosclerosis, which is the hardening of arteries due to build up of cholesterol and fat in your artery walls.

Atherosclerosis is bad because it can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Macrophages play a key roll in the formation of artery plaque.

Researchers also found that a particular amino acid, leucine, “as the key activator” for the immune cell-to-atherosclerosis pathway.

“Our study shows that dialing up your protein intake in pursuit of better metabolic health is not a panacea,” said Pittsburgh professor of cardiology and study co-author Babak Razani in a statement. “You could be doing real damage to your arteries. Our hope is that this research starts a conversation about ways of modifying diets in a precise manner that can influence body function at a molecular level and dampen disease risks.”

While this is a soberly-written scientific study, some have interpreted it as another shot in the culture war over meat and masculinity, in which conservative trolls deride anything that would call for moderation in meat consumption, including cutting back on meat to mitigate climate change.

Fitness influencer Marc Lobliner blasted the study in pungent terms on the platform X-formerly-Twitter.

“This article is stupid,” he exclaims in an X video, while calling Razani “The King of Zero Gains.”

A manosphere influencer, Andrew Hurst, also criticized the study on X, alleging that the authors are “desperate to promote veganism.”

Taking a step back, this study may confuse you as to what you should eat for better health since there are so many competing claims about the pros and cons of eating a diet rich in meat.

If so, perhaps we should stick to basics that are simple and commonsensical: eat in moderation and make sure your diet is varied.

More on nutrition: Scientist Who Thought Supplements Were a Scam Changed His Mind After Studying Them

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