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Tuesday, December 23, 2014


Sharing with you easy last minute ideas to decorate your Christmas table...

Monday, November 24, 2014

10 Superfoods Healthier Than Kale

In the world of marketing, image is everything. If you’re James Franco or Roger Federer or Taylor Swift, your name and face can be used to sell anything from phones to watches to perfume—even if you’re not necessarily famous for the your tech-savvy, your promptness, or the way you smell.  

In the food world, the biggest celebrity of all might be kale—the Shakira of salads, the Lady Gaga of leafy greens. It’s universally recognized that kale anything—kale chips, kale pesto, kale face cream—instantly imparts a health halo. Even 7-Eleven is making over its image by offering kale cold-pressed juices. And yes, kale has plenty of benefits—including high levels of folate and more calcium, gram for gram, than a cup of milk. (It’s head and shoulders above these items found in our Eat This, Not That! Special Report: “Health” Foods Worse for You Than a Donut.)

Still, kale’s actually not the healthiest green on the block. In fact, in a recent report published by the Centers for Disease Control that ranked 47 “powerhouse fruits and vegetables,” kale placed only 15th (with 49.07 points out of 100 for nutrient density)! Here’s a roundup of the 10 leafy green cousins that researchers say pack a greater nutritional wallop. Read ’em, eat ’em, and reap the benefits.  

 SUPERFOOD #10 Collard Greens
Nutrition Score: 62.49
A staple vegetable of Southern U.S. cuisine, collard greens also boast incredible cholesterol-lowering benefits — especially when steamed. A recent study published in the journal Nutrition Research compared the effectiveness of the prescription drug Cholestyramine to steamed collards. Incredibly, the collards improved the body’s cholesterol-blocking process by 13 percent more than the drug! Of course, that won’t do you any good if you insist on serving them with ham hocks.

SUPERFOOD #9 Romaine Lettuce
Nutrition Score: 63.48
Even more so than its cousin kale, the humble Romaine lettuce packs high levels of folic acid, a water-soluble form of Vitamin B that’s proven to boost male fertility. A study published in the journal Fertility and Sterility found supplemental folic acid to significantly increase sperm counts. Get the man in your life to start craving Caesar salads, and you may soon have a baby Julius on board. (Ladies, this green packs health benefits for you, too! Folate also plays a role in battling depression, so change out your kale for Romaine and, while you’re at it, stock up on these other 8 Foods That Boost Your Mood.)

SUPERFOOD #8 Parsley
Nutrition Score: 65.59
Yes, that leafy garnish that sits on the side of your plate—the one they throw away after you eat the rest of your meal—is a quiet superfood, so packed with nutrients that even that one sprig can go a long way toward meeting your daily requirement for vitamin K. Moreover, research suggests the summer-y aroma and flavor of chopped parsley may help control your appetite. A study in the journal Flavour found participants ate significantly less of a dish that smelled strongly of spice than a mildly scented version of the same food. Adding herbs, like parsley, creates the sensory illusion that you’re indulging in something rich—without adding any fat or calories to your plate.

SUPERFOOD #7 Leaf Lettuce
Nutrition Score: 70.73
The nutritional Clark Kent of the salad bar, this common and unsuspecting leafy green is ready to take its place among the superfoods. Two generous cups of lettuce provides 100 percent of your daily vitamin K requirement for strong, healthy bones. A report from the Nurses’ Health Study suggests that women who eat a serving of lettuce every day cut the risk of hip fracture by 30 percent than when compared with eating just one serving a week.

SUPERFOOD #6 Chicory
Nutrition Score: 73.36
Chicory is a family of bitter greens, but its most well-known member is radicchio, the small red or purple leaf that comes in a head about the size of a softball. It’s one of the best dietary sources of polyphenols—powerful micronutrients that serve a role in preventing disease. A study in the Journal of Nutrition found that people who consume 650 mg a day of polyphenols have a 30 percent chance at living longer than those who consume less than that. A cup of chicory leaves clocks in at about 235 mg (double that of spinach!), so consider adding a little leafy red into your leafy greens.

SUPERFOOD #5 Spinach
Nutrition Score: 86.43
Spinach is to kale what Michael Jordan is to LeBron James—the once unrivaled king now overshadowed by the hot new thing. But like MJ, spinach has a few more championship rings than its more current rival—primarily its position as a top source of biceps-building iron. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a 180 gram serving of boiled spinach provides 6.43 mg of the muscle mineral—that’s more than a 6 oz hamburger patty! Recent research also suggest compounds in the leaf membranes called thylakoids may serve as a powerful appetite suppressant. A recently published long-term study at Lund University in Sweden found that having a drink containing thylakoids before breakfast could significantly reduce cravings and promote weight loss. On average, the women who took the spinach extract lost 5.5 pounds more than the placebo group over the course of three months. 

SUPERFOOD #4 Beet Greens
Nutrition Score: 87.08
Yes, the stuff they cut off and throw in the garbage before charging you an arm and a leg for “beet salad.” A scant cup of the bitter green serves up nearly 5 grams of fiber—that’s more than you’ll find in a bowl of Quaker oats! Researchers at the University of Leeds found that risk of cardiovascular disease was significantly lower for every 7 grams of fiber consumed. Try them in stir frys and eat to your heart’s content!

Nutrition Score: 89.27
Chard. Sounds like “burnt.” It’s not as fun a name to drop as, say, “broccolini,” but it might be your best defense against diabetes. Recent research has shown that these powerhouse leaves contain at least 13 different polyphenol antioxidants, including anthocyanins–anti-inflammatory compounds that could offer protection from type 2 diabetes. Researchers from the University of East Anglia analyzed questionnaires and blood samples of about 2,000 people and found that those with the highest dietary intakes of anthocyanins had lower insulin resistance and better blood glucose regulation.

SUPERFOOD #2 Chinese Cabbage
Nutrition Score: 91.99
Taking the silver medal in the powerfood Olympics is Chinese cabbage, also called Napa or celery cabbage. Rich sources of highly available calcium and iron, cruciferous vegetables like the cabbage have the powerful ability to “turn off” inflammation markers thought to promote heart disease. In a study of more than 1,000 Chinese women, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, those who ate the most cruciferous vegetables (about 1.5 cups per day) had 13 percent less inflammation than those who ate the fewest.

SUPERFOOD #1 Watercress
Nutrition Score: 100
The top dog, the unrivaled champion, the chairman of the cutting board, watercress may also be the closest thing yet to a true anti-aging food. Gram for gram this mild-tasting and flowery-looking green contains four times more beta carotene than an apple, and a whopping 238 percent of your daily recommended dose of vitamin K per 100 grams — two compounds that keep skin dewy and youthful. The beauty food is also the richest dietary source of PEITC (phenylethyl isothiocyanate), which research suggests can fight cancer. Results from an eight-week trial published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggest daily supplementation of 85 grams of raw watercress (that’s about two cups) could reduce DMA damage linked to cancer by 17 percent. Exposure to heat may inactivate PEITC, so it’s best to enjoy watercress raw in salads, cold-pressed juices, and sandwiches.

Friday, November 14, 2014

World Diabetes Day: Coffee May Cut Type 2 Diabetes Risk By One Quarter

LOVE YOUR COFFEE? New research, published today on World Diabetes Day, shows that drinking coffee can reduce the risk of type two diabetes by up to 25%.
The report, carried out by the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee (ISIC) finds that moderate consumption of coffee on a daily basis may lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Three to four cups 
Evidence shows that drinking three to four cups of coffee per day is associated with an approximate 25% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, compared to consuming none to less than two cups per day.
The study, which was carried out in May 2014 with a sample size of 1000 participants, showed that increasing coffee consumption by one cup per day over a 4 year period resulted in an 11% lower risk of type 2 diabetes in the subsequent 4 years.
Those who decreased coffee intake by one cup per day had a 17% higher risk of type 2 diabetes.
Research has also suggested that the time of coffee consumption could play a distinct role in glucose metabolism.

Lunch time 
One prospective cohort study of 69,532 women examined the long-term effects of coffee on type 2 diabetes and found drinking coffee, especially at lunch time, reduced the risk of developing diabetes.
Conor Minogue from the Irish Coffee Council said the study is welcome news for people at risk of developing type 2 diabetes in Ireland.
He said moderate coffee consumption fits well with a healthy balanced diet and can be enjoyed as part of active lifestyle.
“However, we do recommend that pregnant women limit their caffeine intake from all sources to 200mg per day in line with current guidelines,” he said.

Find out if you're at risk of diabetes with this test:

Sources: http://www.thejournal.ie/, http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/

Monday, November 10, 2014


Pomegranate has been renowned as a superfood for centuries, and has been found to contain vitamins A, C and E as well as iron and antioxidants – chemicals which help neutralise harmful oxygen molecules called free radicals. From reducing the risk of prostate cancer to lowering cholesterol levels, Alzheimer's to arthritis, stress relief to appetite suppressant, pomegranates and their many health benefits have been well documented. And if that was not enough to convince you to try pomegranate, the fruit is now being hailed as the elixir of youth.

Researchers from the Probelte Bio Labatory in Spain used a potent new type of pomegranate extract including the skin, pith and seeds of the fruit. The 60 participants were asked to take the extract for 30 days in the form of a pill. The results found a significant decrease in a marker associated with cell damage, that disrupts brain, muscle, liver and kidney functions, as well as causing ageing. Dr Sergio Streitenberger, who led the study, said: "We are very excited about this study which we believe demonstrates that regular consumption of this pomegranate extract can slow down the process of DNA oxidation (...) We get old because we fall apart, cell by cell. One way to look at ageing is to think of it as rusting or oxidizing, a damaging process. The free radicals that oxidize our body's molecules include fats, heavy metals and numerous other chemical compounds we breathe, eat and drink. If free radicals reach the DNA of our cells, the damage is cumulative and significant. Being able to guard against this process would be a significant breakthrough".

But pomegranate appears to have an extra benefit: it cuts hunger pangs.
Scientists say regular consumption of pomegranate extract may reduce feelings of hunger, while increasing the sensation of being full. Volunteers who took a pomegranate supplement daily for three weeks reported feeling significantly less hungry during the experiment than those who had a placebo instead. A total of 29 volunteers took part in the study carried out by Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh. Half the group took a pomegranate extract, containing the skin, pith and seeds of the fruit, every day for three weeks and the rest took a placebo tablet. After three weeks, each volunteer drank a glass of pomegranate juice before sitting down to a meal of pasta with tomato sauce. The pomegranate extract group felt less hungry (by an average of 12%), had less desire to eat (21%), felt fuller (16%) and more satisfied (15%). They also ate an average of 447 grammes of the pasta meal compared with 574 grammes for the control group, or 22% less. Dr Emad Al-Dujaili, who lead the research, said: "We and other researchers have shown that pomegranates contain potent antioxidants that can neutralise free radicals better than red wine, green tea and commonly consumed juices (...) Pomegranate juice intake can cause a reduction in blood pressure and insulin resistance. The present study shows that pomegranate extract can promote satiety by reducing hunger and desire to eat and enhancing fullness and satisfaction" These results indicate that pomegranate extract consumption may have the potential to assist in the challenge of reducing risk factors for overweight and obesity.

Moreover, research suggests that pomegranate juice could slow the spread of cancer.
Scientists have found components in the juice which stop the movement of cancer cells, and weaken their attraction to chemical signals which cause them to spread.
They found that particular ingredients in the juice - such as fatty acids - slowed the spread of the disease from prostate cancer to the bone. The team from the University of California hope the fruit will have a similar effect on other cancers. Dr Manuela Martins-Green said: "This is particularly exciting because we can now modify these naturally occurring components of the juice to improve their functions and make them more effective in preventing prostate cancer metastasis...Because the genes and proteins involved in movement of prostate cancer cells are essentially the same as those involved in movement of other types of cancer cells, the same modified components of the juice could have a much broader impact in cancer treatment."

One active area of research has looked at the potential heart health benefits of the pomegranate.
Spanish researchers found that pomegranates could reverse some of the damage done by junk food. They tested a new supplement on pigs. The supplement was made with polyphenols found in pomegranates. The researchers first fed the pigs—whose cardiovascular systems are similar to ours—a diet of fatty, damaging foods. Unsurprisingly, this diet damaged the lining of their blood vessels. Damage to this lining, the endothelium, is often the first step in atherosclerosis, or the hardening of the arteries which leads to heart attacks and strokes. After the intentional vascular damage was done, the pigs were fed a daily dose of Pomanex, a supplement containing 200 mg of polyphenols. The researchers said the punicalagin-containing supplement was able to repair the damage. Dr Lina Badimon, of the Catalan Institute for Cardiovascular Sciences in Spain, said: ‘Enriching a diet with pomegranate polyphenols can help in preventing and retarding endothelial dysfunctions, which are among the first signs of atherosclerosis and strokes.’
Though while this study focuses on a specific product, this isn’t the first study to demonstrate the heart-healthy benefits of pomegranates in general – and other such studies weren’t linked to a man-made supplement.
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicated pomegranate juice was able to reduce oxidative stress and  plaque on arterial walls. Another found men taking pomegranate juice were able to reduce the plaque in their arteries by 30% in a year’s time. The control group, who didn’t take pomegranate juice, saw a plaque increase of 9%.
Researchers at Queen Margaret University in Edinburg, Scotland found that drinking pomegranate juice could lower blood pressure. In the study, when an undisclosed number of people drank 500 ml (16 ounces) of pomegranate juice a day for four weeks, there was a "significant" fall in blood pressure for 90 percent of the group. Drinking pomegranate juice was also linked to "lower levels of unsaturated fatty acids, which are linked to the storage of stomach fat".

In addition to the benefits on blood pressure, this same research found that pomegranate juice can reduce stress hormone. Volunteers were assessed on mood status using a specialist test. After consumption of pomegranate juice most subjects reported that they were more enthusiastic, inspired, proud and active and all reported that they were less distressed, nervous, guilty and ashamed according to the attributes tested. Research Scientist, Dr Emad Al-Dujaili who led the study said: "On the basis of these findings there is a justified argument for busy workers to drink pomegranate juice to help alleviate chronic stress and maintain good health.”

One other study not related to heart health found that pomegranate juice can significantly improve memory and brain health. In this latest study, subjects with self-reported memory problems were randomly assigned to receive 8 ounces of pomegranate juice of a placebo with similar flavor. Over a four-week study period, the subjects participated in memory tests, MRI scans, and blood draws. Those participants in the pomegranate juice group saw “significant improvement” in their verbal memory tests and their plasma antioxidant levels. They even showed increased brain activity during memory and verbal testing, suggesting the juice helped encourage increased blood flow to “critical task-related” regions of the brain.
Need an idea to enjoy all the benefits of this wonder fruit? Try this

Pomegranate-berry smoothie

TOTAL TIME: 5 min - YIELD: one 8-ounce serving

1/2 cup chilled pomegranate juice
1/2 cup vanilla low-fat yogurt
1 cup frozen mixed berries


Add the juice, yogurt and berries to a blender. Cover and blend until pureed.

Nutritional information per serving: about 250 calories, 6 g protein, 52 g carbohydrate, 2 g total fat (1 g saturated), 5 g fiber, 8 mg cholesterol, 110 mg sodium

Sources: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/ , http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/
Recipe: http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/

Monday, September 1, 2014

What's your REAL age? New calculator reveals how old your body really is... based on mood, diet and exercise

Are you ageing as gracefully as you should be? And what effect is your diet, level of activity and mood having on your body?
A new calculator can reveal your body's true age, the effect your lifestyle is having and how many years it might be shaving off your life. The test takes into account factors such as weight, the amount and intensity of exercise undertaken, cholesterol, eating habits, levels of happiness and alcohol consumption. And it can reveal a very different picture to a chronological age. A 30 year old, for example, can have the health age of a 50 year old, or older, dependent on their lifestyle choices.


For example, a 30-year-old woman who is 5'4" tall, weighs a healthy 9st (57kg), exercises at a medium-high intensity four times a week, eats a good diet and drinks seven units of alcohol a week, has a body age of 30. Take out the exercise and this jumps to 32. Add 10 cigarettes a day and 20 units of alcohol a week (around two bottles of wine) and this rises again to 35.

A 50-year-old man who is 5'9" (175cm), weighs 13 stone (83kg), does low intensity exercise such as walking for five hours a week, has a moderate diet, drinks two pints of lager a night (roughly 28 units of alcohol a week) and is relatively happy, has a body age of 56. Add in high blood pressure and high cholesterol and this rises to 63.

The 'Vitality Age Calculator', as it is called, also reveals the measures that could reduce your reduced body age.
Sports stars, for example, are testament to the fact that a healthy lifestyle can knock years off the ageing process. Former athlete Lord Sebastian Coe, 57, has a vitality age of 54, while 27-year-old Olympic gold medallist Jessica Ennis scored just 23 when she took the test. Developed by PruHealth, it is based on an algorithm derived from an analysis of over 5,000 studies relating to death, and was developed in conjunction with leading academics.

The research found that the biggest factors which pushed up body age were a lack of physical activity and being overweight.
And to make matters worse, two thirds of the study participants were in denial, believing they were in good or excellent health, despite showing two or more risk factors that could have increased their chances of getting a life-shortening disease.
Because of this denial, people aren't making lifestyle choices that could reduce their risk of heart attack, stroke or diabetes, such as quitting smoking, eating a better diet or taking up exercise.
The study found that 69% of smokers refused to give up and 64% of people were unwilling to change their eating habits. Nearly one in five were overweight and the same amount had high blood pressure.

Dr Katie Tryon, PruHealth head of clinical Vitality, said: "We all lead busy lifestyles trying to squeeze in as much as possible and thinking about your health can sometimes take a back seat. Often when you’re feeling up against it, it’s tempting to compensate by having a glass of wine or cigarette, or take a few shortcuts by grabbing an unhealthy snack or skipping the gym, but it’s these lifestyle choices that ultimately impact on our health. People are living longer, but not longer, healthier lives, so this will show people the real state of their health and help them decide if they need to introduce some better habits. By taking small steps today can dramatically improve wellbeing over the long-term, regardless of your current state of health, and truly understanding the implications of your choices is the first step."

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/ 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Why eggs are good for you even if you're on a weight loss diet

Once demonised as bad for the heart, eggs have been repositioned as a health food in recent years as researchers have found that not only are they good for hearts, but can even help you to lose weight.
More importantly, a report by Ying Rong of Huazhong University of Science and Technology and her colleagues published in the British Journal of Medicine in January, reviewed 17 different egg studies.
The study concluded, "Higher consumption of eggs (up to one egg per day) is not associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease or stroke. The increased risk of coronary heart disease among diabetic patients and reduced risk of hemorrhagic stroke associated with higher egg consumption in subgroup analyses warrant further studies."

So how did eggs get so controversial in the first place?
A lot of it has to do with cholesterol. A large egg contains about 186 mg of cholesterol. And since the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends a limit of 300 mg per day, eat two eggs and you've exceeded that limit.
So, eggs are bad then?
Not so fast. There happens to be a problem with the AHA's recommendation. It assumes that when you eat more cholesterol (from eggs and other animal foods), your blood cholesterol increases.
Assume that and, of course, it makes sense to eat fewer eggs. Your blood cholesterol would be lower. Your heart and arteries would stay healthier for longer. But here's the AHA's dirty little secret: your body doesn't work that way. Indeed, the research consistently and reliably shows that the cholesterol you eat has very little impact on how much cholesterol is in your blood. If that sounds weird, maybe this will help... Your body makes cholesterol. Lots of it, in fact. Every single day you produce between 1 and 2 grams of it on your own. (That's 5-10 times the cholesterol in a large egg.)
The interesting twist? When you eat more cholesterol from foods like eggs, your body produces less of it. And when you eat less cholesterol from foods like eggs, your body produces more.
That's because you have a cholesterol "set point." Think of it like a thermostat that's largely determined by your genetics, exercise habits, and stress. Funny enough, diet plays a surprisingly small role.

Furthermore cholesterol isn't so bad for you anyway...
Cholesterol is a very important part of the body. It is a structural molecule that is an essential part of every single cell membrane. It is also used to make steroid hormones like testosterone, estrogen and cortisol. Without cholesterol, we wouldn’t even exist.

More evidence eggs are really a healthy food.
Since your body naturally has all it needs from producing its own cholesterol, there is no dietary requirement for more cholesterol. But the American diet contains plenty, since we eat a lot of animal products. All animal products contain some cholesterol, but they also contain saturated fat, an even more significant culprit in heart-disease risk. Actually the major determinant of plasma LDL level is saturated fat. And while eggs are high in cholesterol, they're relatively low in saturated fat (1.6 grams in the yolk). Interestingly, people in Japan — consumers of some of the largest quantities of eggs in the world (averaging 328 eggs consumed per person per year — have low levels of cholesterol and heart disease compared with other developed countries, especially the United States. Why? In part, it's because the Japanese eat a diet low in saturated fat.

Americans do just the opposite. Research has shown that we usually have our eggs alongside foods high in saturated fat, such as bacon, sausage and buttered toast. This meal pattern raises LDL levels and makes the effect of eating eggs worse than it actually is.

And what about eggs and weight loss?
Interestingly, in controlled trials -- the best kind of research -- where people were instructed to eat up to three eggs per day while on a weight loss diet, good things happened.
These folks lost weight, decreased inflammation and either maintained or improved their blood cholesterol levels. (They were consuming 555 mg of cholesterol every day from eggs alone!)

Some more reasons to introduce eggs into your diet
Egg yolks are one of the most nutrient-dense, antioxidant-rich and vitamin-laden foods on the planet! (Compared to the yolks, the whites are pretty much protein and water.) Egg yolks contain 90% of the calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, thiamin, B6, folate, pantothenic acid and B12 of the egg. In addition the yolk contains all of the fat-soluble components, such as vitamins A, D and E, not to mention the heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
Egg yolks are also a rich source of some other very interesting nutrients such as choline, lutein and zeaxanthin.
Choline is essential for cardiovascular and brain function. Eating more of it may mean mean less inflammation, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimers, and more.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are the major antioxidants in eggs. They protect the eyes by filtering harmful light wavelengths and lowering risk of macular degeneration.
Indeed, those people eating only egg whites -- or avoiding eggs entirely -- are missing out on many of these key nutrients.

How much is too much
Many experts say an egg a day is fine. "The amount that one egg a day raises cholesterol in the blood is extremely small, so small in fact that the increase in risk in heart disease related to this change in serum cholesterol could never be detected in any kind of study," says Walter Willett, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard's School of Public Health."Elevations in LDL of this small magnitude could easily be countered by other healthy aspects of eggs."
Bottom line: if you eat a healthful diet, go ahead and eat an egg a day. On the other hand, if your cholesterol is high and if you eat the typical American diet — high in saturated fat, devoid of fruits, vegetables and fiber — maybe you shouldn't be eating an egg a day.
But will taking eggs out of an unhealthy diet make a positive difference? Probably not. Certainly you too happened to hear people complaining "I've cut out eggs, but my cholesterol is still high!". The impact of a healthy, balanced diet cannot be denied here.

Sources: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/, http://authoritynutrition.com/, http://www.livescience.com/

Monday, June 23, 2014

Are Meat and Dairy Really as Bad as Smoking?

A diet rich in meat, eggs, milk and cheese could be as harmful to health as smoking, according to a controversial study into the impact of protein consumption on longevity.

Research which tracked thousands of adults for nearly 20 years found that people who eat a diet rich in animal protein are four times more likely to die of cancer than someone with a low protein diet. The risk is nearly as high as the danger of developing cancer by smoking 20 cigarettes each day. Previous studies have shown a link between cancer and red meat, but it is the first time research has measured the risk of death caused by regularly eating too much protein.
The study’s findings
The US study -recently published in Journal Cell Metabolism- found that people with a high protein diet were 74% more likely to die of any cause within the study period than their low-protein counterparts. They were also several times more likely to die of diabetes. But this trend appeared to reverse for those aged over 65, researchers found.

High-protein food plans, such as the Atkins Diet, have become popular in recent years because of their dramatic weight-loss results. The new research from the University of Southern California suggests that such dieters may harm themselves in the long run.

“We provide convincing evidence that a high-protein diet – particularly if the proteins are derived from animals – is nearly as bad as smoking for your health,” said Dr Valter Longo, of the University.
The researchers define a “high-protein” diet as deriving at least 20% of daily calories from protein. They recommend consuming about 0.8g (0.03oz) of protein per kilogram of body weight every day in middle age. It means a person weighing nine stone should eat about 45-50g (1.6-1.7oz) of protein a day. A 300g (10.5oz) steak contains 77g (2.7oz) of protein.

As well as red meat, dairy products high in protein are also dangerous, the researchers said. A 200ml (7fl oz) glass of milk represents 12% of the recommended daily allowance, while a 40g (1.4oz) slice of cheese contains 20%. Chicken, fish, pulses, vegetables, nuts and grain are healthier sources of protein. However, a chicken breast or salmon fillet still accounts for about 40 per cent of recommended daily protein intake.

“The research shows that a low-protein diet in middle age is useful for preventing cancer and overall mortality,” said Dr Eileen Crimmins, a co-author of the study.
“However, we also propose that at older ages, it may be important to avoid a low-protein diet to allow the maintenance of healthy weight and protection from frailty.”

The backlash
So how does this translate into eating meat and dairy products being as bad for you as smoking? While this wasn't specifically discussed in the full text of the study, Valter Longo, director of the University of Southern California's Longevity Institute, told the press “Cancer mortality was higher for high-protein [eaters] compared to current smokers.”

The stats do bear out—and these findings are pretty sobering—but it's important to keep in mind that there were some definite limitations to this study.
  • For one thing, it's based on data compiled about one day's worth of eating for participants; although the survey respondents did answer questions about how typical these meals were for them, what they ate on that day can't possibly be a perfect reflection of how they ate over the next 18 years. 
  • Furthermore, there was also no distinction between animal proteins — some people could have been eating skinless white chicken breast or steamed fish instead of bacon and sausages.
  • The survey also didn't distinguish between farm-raised meat consumption and factory-farmed meat consumption. “We know that there's a lot of hormones injected in animals, but unfortunately, the data we have doesn't provide information on that,” says Morgan Levine Canon, a Ph.D. student in gerontology at the University of Southern California. “I think down the road that's another study that people can look at in more detail.”

Bottom line
There's another big factor worth considering here, too: this is one study saying that animal protein consumption may significantly increase your risk of cancer—and there's tons of research about how deadly smoking is. So while the results are certainly enough to make you think twice about how much chicken and yogurt you're consuming, that doesn't necessarily mean that eating these foods is just as bad as smoking. “The size of the effect we're finding was similar, however I think the association with smoking mortality is way more clear-cut,” says Canon. “There's been a lot more research, and there's a lot less potential for confounding factors. For nutrition, it's really hard to unravel what someone's diet is and really quantify that—whereas it's quite easy to say, 'Do you smoke a pack of cigarettes a day?'”

Canon emphasizes that this definitely isn't a reason to continue (or start) smoking. If anything, she hopes it will encourage more people to cut back on their animal-based protein intake. “This is an association we're finding right now, and we recognize more work needs to be done with this,” she says. “But there's a lot of evidence that probably eating plant-based is healthiest.”

Sources: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/, http://www.sciencedaily.com/, http://www.womenshealthmag.com/