Mostly meat, high protein diet linked to heart failure in older women

November 14, 2016, American Heart Association

Women over the age of 50 who follow a high-protein diet could be at higher risk for heart failure, especially if much of their protein comes from meat, according to preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2016.

Researchers evaluated the self-reported daily diets of 103,878 between the ages of 50 and 79 years, from 1993 to 1998. A total of 1,711 women developed over the study period. The rate of heart failure for women with higher total intake was significantly higher compared to the women who ate less protein daily or got more of their protein from vegetables.

While women who ate higher amounts of vegetable protein appeared to have less heart failure, the association was not significant when adjusted for body mass.

"Higher calibrated total dietary protein intake appears to be associated with substantially increased heart failure risk while vegetable protein intake appears to be protective, although additional studies are needed to further explore this potential association," said Mohamad Firas Barbour, M.D., study author and internist at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island, in Pawtucket.

The findings were true regardless of age, race or ethnicity, level of education, or if the women had high blood pressure (2.9 percent), diabetes (8.3 percent), coronary artery disease (7.1 percent), anemia (3.4 percent), or atrial fibrillation (4.9 percent).

The subjects were all participants in the Women's Health Initiative, an ongoing, long-term national dietary survey investigating strategies for reducing heart disease, breast and colorectal cancer, and osteoporosis.

Researchers said other studies have found a link between increased protein from meat and cardiovascular risk in women.

"Our findings should be interpreted with caution, but it appears that following a may increase heart failure risk," Barbour said.

Because dietary self-reporting can be unreliable, the team also used special biomarker data to accurately calibrate daily - doubly labeled water and urinary nitrogen. Doubly labeled water uses non-radioactive tracers to evaluate a person's metabolic energy while urinary nitrogen is used to determine actual amounts of dietary protein.

"We used self-reported intakes of total dietary protein, and the quantity of women obtained from meat and vegetables based upon the Food Frequency Questionnaire," Barbour said.

The Food Frequency Questionnaire is the most common dietary assessment tool used in large epidemiologic studies of diet and health. A self-administered booklet asks participants to report the frequency of consumption and portion size of approximately 125 items over a defined period.

"While a better understanding of dietary risk is still needed, it appears that heart failure among postmenopausal women is not only highly prevalent but preventable by modifying diet," Barbour said. "Heart failure is highly prevalent, especially in post-menopausal women; therefore, a better understanding of nutrition-related factors associated with heart failure is needed."

The American Heart Association recommends that people eat a dietary pattern that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish, and nuts while limiting red meat and sugary foods and beverages. For people who eat meat, choose lean meats and poultry without skin and eat fish at least twice a week - preferably fish high in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, trout, and herring.

Explore further: Red meat consumption linked with increased risk of developing kidney failure

Related Stories

Red meat consumption linked with increased risk of developing kidney failure

July 14, 2016
A new study indicates that red meat intake may increase the risk of kidney failure in the general population, and substituting red meat with alternative sources of protein from time to time may significantly reduce this risk. ...

Processed red meat linked to higher risk of heart failure, death in men

June 12, 2014
Men who eat moderate amounts of processed red meat may have an increased risk of incidence and death from heart failure, according to a study in Circulation: Heart Failure, an American Heart Association journal.

Estimated risk of breast cancer increases as red meat intake increases

June 10, 2014
Higher red meat intake in early adulthood might be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, and women who eat more legumes—such as peas, beans and lentils—poultry, nuts and fish might be at lower risk in later ...

Red meat metabolite levels high in acute heart failure patients, research shows

February 18, 2016
Patients with acute heart failure often have high levels of the metabolite trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) – of which red meat is a major dietary source - according to researchers from the University of Leicester.

More dietary calcium may lower risk of cardiovascular disease

April 3, 2016
In older people, higher dietary calcium intake may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, but not of stroke and fracture, new research from South Korea suggests. The results will be presented in a poster Saturday, April ...

Recommended for you

Using adrenaline in cardiac arrests results in less than 1 percent more people leaving hospital alive

July 18, 2018
A clinical trial of the use of adrenaline in cardiac arrests has found that its use results in less than 1% more people leaving hospital alive—but almost doubles the risk of severe brain damage for survivors of cardiac ...

Omega 3 supplements have little or no heart or vascular health benefit: review

July 17, 2018
New evidence published today shows there is little or no effect of omega 3 supplements on our risk of experiencing heart disease, stroke or death.

Researchers discover new genes associated with heart function

July 17, 2018
A new study from an international research team, led by Dr. Yalda Jamshidi at St George's, University of London, has identified new genes associated with heart function and development.

Southern diet could be deadly for people with heart disease

July 12, 2018
People with a history of heart disease who eat a traditional Southern diet are more likely to die than those who follow a Mediterranean dietary pattern, according to new research.

Late-life high blood pressure may harm the brain, study says

July 11, 2018
Decades ago, hundreds of nuns and priests made an extraordinary decision: They agreed to donate their brains upon death to science, hoping to help solve mysteries about Alzheimer's and other diseases. Now, a study that used ...

Multivitamins do not promote cardiovascular health

July 10, 2018
Taking multivitamin and mineral supplements does not prevent heart attacks, strokes or cardiovascular death, according to a new analysis of 18 studies published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, an American ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.