various protein sources
According to a preliminary research, presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2016, women who are aged over 50 may be at a very high risk of experiencing heart failure. This is especially true if the said protein is from consuming meat.

For the purpose of this study, self-reported daily diets of a total of 103,878 women were evaluated by a team of researchers. All of the women were aged between 50 to 79 years. The year of evaluation was 1993 to 1998. Over the period of the study about 1,711 women ended up developing heart failure. The rate of experiencing heart failure was also seen to be higher in women who consumed more dietary protein when compared to females who didn’t eat as much protein or if they consumed vegetables to fulfill their protein intake.


Even though the rate of heart failure was less in women who consumed more amounts of protein from vegetables, the overall association wasn’t able to be deemed significant when it was adjusted for the individual’s body mass. According to the author of the study, Dr. Mohamad Firas Barbour, an internist at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island (Pawtucket), higher calibrated intake of total dietary protein happens to have a link to an increased risk of heart failure. However, a person seems to be protected from this risk due to consuming proteins from vegetables. Further research is required to better understand this association.

The findings related to heart failure and protein intake held true regardless of a person’s level of education, race, ethnicity, age, or if females were suffering from diabetes (8.3%), high blood pressure (2.9%), anemia (3.4%), coronary artery disease (7.1%), or atrial fibrillation (4.9%). All of the participating women were part of the Women’s Health Initiative. The said initiative’s an ongoing national dietary survey meant to investigate strategies for lowering breast and colorectal cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis.


Even though the team of researchers has said to interpret the current results with some caution, there is a possibility that the risk of heart failure may increase due to having a diet that is high in protein. Due to the fact that self-reporting has a degree of unreliability, the researchers also made use of special biomarker data to precisely calibrate the intake of protein on a daily basis, such as urinary nitrogen and doubly labeled water. Urinary nitrogen helps to determine the amount of dietary protein while doubly labeled water makes use of non-radioactive tracers for evaluating the metabolic energy of an individual.

The Food Frequency Questionnaire dietary assessment tool was also used. The said booklet asks all of the participants to report the frequency of their consumption of protein and the portion size of about 125 items over a set period of time.

The team of researchers added that even though the current risk needs to be better understood, the risk of heart failure in postmenopausal females can be prevented by changing their diet. Postmenopausal women also happen to be at an increased risk of experiencing heart failure.

Some dietary guidelines have been shared by the American Heart Association. It recommends that individuals should consume a diet that focuses on vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy products, nuts, fish, whole grains, while reducing the consumption of sugary beverages and foods, and red meat. If a person wants to eat meat then they should consume lean meats and skinless poultry. They should also consume fish at least two times per week. The fish should be high in omega-3 fatty acids such as herring, trout, and salmon.