Antonia Trichopoulou found that higher protein leads to increased death
Oh no! I guess all of us low-carbers need to make sure our will is written because it looks like we're all headed for a one-way ticket to the cemetary. Well, that's what some are claiming after reading this European Journal of Clinical Nutrition study about mortality rates of people on a high-protein, low-carb diet.
Lead researcher Antonia Trichopoulou from the Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology in the School of Medicine at the University of Athens in Athens, Greece wanted to see what the mortality rates of people who stay on a high-protein, low-carb diet over the long-term.
Using the Greek population to comprise her pool of study participants, Trichopoulou observed the diet of 22,944 healthy adults and assessed their diet by way of a questionnaire. The researchers paid especially close attention to the protein and carbohydrate levels of the people in the study and more specifically their relationship to the rate of death among specific categories of people.
What she found was that 455 deaths happened over the 10-year period which Trichopoulou contributed to "high values of the additive low carbohydrate-high protein" diet. She also added that the study participants who ate such a diet saw more cardiovascular and cancer deaths than those who ate a high-carb diet.
Trichopoulou's grim conclusion? She said, "Prolonged consumption of diets low in carbohydrates and high in protein is associated with an increase in total mortality."
Aw man! I was just getting used to eating this way and now this researcher has to come along and ruin my day like this! Actually, while it is certainly an interesting study to look at, I'm not buying it. Whenever you leave the study data in the hands of the participants as they did in this study, you are opening yourself up for suspicious results.
But, despite my doubts about the veracity of the study results, you and I were challenged by a board certified dietitian named Dr. Steven Acocella to refute it under the assumption that it is a legitimate study. Before I share with you his challenge, I think you need to know a little more about this gentleman first.
As you can see from this DiseaseProof.com article featuring Dr. Acocella, he's no fan of the late great Dr. Robert C. Atkins and his low-carb, high-protein diet. As a fellow colleague of low-fat vegetarian diet advocate Dr. Joel Furhman, we can presume he too believes meat should not be a major part of a healthy diet. Thus, a study like this one from Greece seems to further his position.
So, here's his challenge to people who are livin' la vida low-carb:
Dear Jimmy and blog members -
I know that the low-carb approach focuses caloric intake on high-fat but we all agree by default this diet style is also low-carb and high in protein, as fatty foods are often derived from high-protein foods. I know I'm in the lion's den here but Jimmy often posts opposing view and allows hearty debate. My post will hopefully inspire such discourse.
I will not editorialize on the study, but simply listen to you and your reader’s comments. I will say that there's no reason that we need to dispute the efficacy of the study itself. Let's go from the position that the study is not flawed. Let's discuss the science and findings.
The conclusions of the authors are reproducible and consistent. What do you all think? If you do post this study I applaud your willingness to explore the science and not ignore nor dismiss it.
I am keen on hearing the comments.
Dr. Steven Acocella
Board Certified Dietitian
Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine
Master of Science Human Nutrition
Fellow - American College of Lifestyle Medicine
Diplomate - American Clinical Board of Nutrition
THANK YOU for the challenge, Dr. Acocella! I'm more than happy to let my intelligent audience of readers share with you their collective wisdom about carbohydrate restriction. Debate of ideas is what I'm all about and I appreciate your willingness to listen.
Okay, if you are on a high-protein, low-carb diet and STILL living, please let us know by leaving a comment. LOL! Just kidding, but I think it makes a point.
The idea that you are killing yourself eating this way is absolutely absurd, study or no study. I don't need a study to tell me this because I'm living it, Dr. Acocella. And so are millions more to the betterment of their health and weight.
Also, you can e-mail Antonia Trichopoulou about her study at firstname.lastname@example.org.