Is A Burger Really As Bad As Smoking? C’mon Now, Get Serious!

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(credit: Thinkstock)

(credit: Thinkstock)

Dr. Dave Hnida By Dr. Dave Hnida
CBSDenver.com Blogger
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I couldn’t believe it when I read the headline from the PR release on the” high protein” study out of USC.

It stated: ” Meat and Cheese As Bad As Smoking.”

I thought, whoa. Important stuff here. Basically the study says that if you go a high protein route in middle age, you’re 4x as likely to develop cancer as someone who doesn’t go a high protein route.

High protein is pretty popular stuff these days. Adkins, Paleo, and just plain high protein meals and shakes.

Are they really as bad as lighting up?

Before you choke on your cheeseburger, it’s a good idea to take a closer look at this study, which was published in the Journal “Cell Metabolism.”

Researchers with this study drew a firm conclusion, and on the surface, seemed sensible.

But a tad too scary for me to swallow. It seemed like the study went from A to Z without stopping at any of the letters in between.

It was a small study (6,000 people) that surveyed people about their protein intake. Then combined that data with some mouse studies as well as some test tube research. Their conclusion: high protein is dangerous. Not unhealthy. Dangerous. At least that’s what anyone who reads a headline might easily assume.

Then you find out that the “survey” only asked people what they ate. And tried to remember what they ate over the years. Yet did they ask about smoking, obesity, diabetes, exercise habits, lifestyle, etc, etc etc? The answer: NO.

There was no direct cause and effect. Meaning, there was no direct link with “high protein” and cancer. Just an assumption based on hodgepodge. Worse, the study lumped red meat, poultry, and fish as being all the same when it comes to protein. Seriously?

Is eating a lot of salmon or sushi as bad as smoking like a chimney?

Now sure, eat cheeseburgers all week, and you’re probably in big trouble. Common sense says a lower fat, more balanced diet is best of all. And a few fruits and veggies wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

But to scare people to death over the idea that your “high protein diet” is going to send you to the cemetery is just a little far-fetched.

Be smart. Be wise. Be moderate.

And don’t hit the drive-thru for every meal.

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