High protein diet linked to heart failure in older women

Women who ate less protein appeared to be at a lower risk of heart failure

(CNN) – As we age, we have to take additional steps to stay healthy. We can’t always get away with some of the things we did in our youth.

A new study indicates that, for older women, a high protein diet might not be the best thing. Women older than 50 who eat high-protein diets could have a greater risk of heart failure, especially if a lot of their protein comes from meat

That’s according to a study presented at the annual scientific conference of the American Heart Association. The study examined the protein intake of nearly 104-thousand women, ages 50 to 79, over a five-year period.

Participants self-reported daily food intake, but since self-reporting is often unreliable, researchers also used biomarker data to determine actual protein intake. Although all participants were free of heart failure during the study period, about 17-hundreds of them developed heart failure by 2005.

Researchers found that post-menopausal women who follow a high-protein diet had a significantly higher rate of heart failure. In fact, the risk was almost double.

Meanwhile, women who ate less protein or ate vegetable protein appeared to be at a lower risk of heart failure. The study’s authors say more research is needed to determine whether this result is linked to the molecular mechanisms of animal protein, lifestyle choices or other factors.