Research Links Too Much Protein to Heart Failure

Category: Health


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. amplify / ˈæmpləˌfaɪ / (v) – to increase or intensify

    Eating lots of sweets amplifies your risk of diabetes.

  2. elevate / ˈɛləˌveɪt / (v) – to boost or increase

    Consuming a lot of sweets can elevate one’s blood sugar levels.

  3. by-product / ˈbaɪprɑdəkt / (n) – secondary result or product

    Fuel produces energy, but it also produces smoke as a by-product.

  4. strain / streɪn / (v) – to injure something because of overwork

    I strained my shoulders from playing tennis every day.

  5. exacerbate / ɪgˈzæsərˌbeɪt / (v) – to worsen

    Not taking medicine exacerbated her illness.


Read the text below.

A new study has added evidence to the relationship between high protein intake and heart disease.

Researchers from the University of Eastern Finland studied the dietary records of over 2,440 men between 42 and 60 years old. They found that high-protein diets amplified the participants’ risk of heart failure by 49%.

The new study supports previous findings on the harmful effects of excessive protein intake. Common sources of protein contain substances that cause harm to the body when taken in high amounts. For instance, red meat is high in iron, while processed meats such as sausage and bacon are high in salt. Excessive amounts of iron and salt can damage veins and elevate blood pressure. These effects can lead to heart complications.

Too much protein can also cause the body to produce more urea / jʊˈri·ə /, a by-product of protein digestion. Urea is released by the body as urine and too much of it can strain and damage the kidneys. Because kidneys help regulate blood pressure, kidney damage can also cause or exacerbate heart conditions.

In addition to the amount of protein, the researchers also noted the impact of how protein is cooked on heart failure risk. They found that certain preparation methods such as baking can decrease the possibility of heart failure, while frying can increase it.

The highly suggested way to avoid the said complications is to moderate protein consumption. Turning to healthier sources of protein such as poultry, fish, beans, nuts, and vegetables can also minimize risk of kidney or heart disease.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Which people do you think are most prone to eating too much protein? Discuss.
• In your opinion, should health experts also examine healthier sources of protein (e.g. poultry, fish, beans) for possible negative effects? Explain.

Discussion B

• Do you think food manufacturers should put warning labels on food products to inform people of the risks of consuming too much? Discuss.
• Would you totally avoid a certain food that you like to eat if a study finds that it has harmful effects? Discuss.