“High” Protein intakes and Cancer, is there a connection? A recent study claims it found a link between “high” protein diets and cancer rates and compares the risk to smoking! Is it true? Learn the FACTS in this video!

See Also: Red Meat and Health – have we been blaming the wrong thing?

17 Comments
  1. david 5 years ago

    Since the original title was “high protein” versus “red meat” I would like to state that I think whey protein studies have shown it to be non-supportive of cancer. In fact, I remember an article about whey, glutathione, and effects of reducing breast cancer.
    Also, it is my opinion, but I think well supported, that lack of exercise, low amounts of omega-3 oils and high carbohydrate diets lead to such things as systemic inflammation which is more correlated with cancer.
    Of course, lots of vegies, especially leafy greens, should be included in a high protein diet.

    • Author
      Will Brink 5 years ago

      You’ll find plenty of info here on whey and it’s anti cancer effects and effects on immunity and GSH. As I was the first to write major articles on whey and it’s impact on immunity, cancer, in the various publications, watch my vid series on whey here, read the many articles, or read my “50 Shades Of Whey” report you can find links for on this page.
      Yes, all the data finds whey prevents cancer, so this study again has some findings that are counter to prior studies.

  2. John Tierney 5 years ago

    Where did you get your degree or PHD from Will ??? – they suggested it was ‘animal protein’ that caused the increase in early death and cancer and related it back to increases in IGF 1 – any human hormone that has growth promoting effects has carcinogenic complications – cancer is merely cells dividing without the control of the nucleus – so there may well be a link even though it ‘IS’ an observational study

    • Author
      Will Brink 5 years ago

      Clearly, my education is not the issue, but your knowledge of the topic is. Yes, they “suggested” it was animal protein, and I outlined fully the the drawbacks of that issue as it applies to this topic.
      “Where did you get your degree or PHD from Will ??? – they suggested it was ‘animal protein’ that caused the increase in early death and cancer and related it back to increases in IGF 1 – any human hormone that has growth promoting effects has carcinogenic complications ”
      False, you obviously don’t know a thing about IGF-1 or hormones in general. See also the linked article that covers in great detail the science on the topic of associations (specific to red meat but all lessons apply) that were in no way demonstrated any cause and effect, but was hypothesis on the authors part in terms of stat sig association they found at it applies to animal protein -> IGF-1 -> cancer.
      “cancer is merely cells dividing without the control of the nucleus – so there may well be a link even though it ‘IS’ an observational study”
      Your point is irrelevant to this study and my assessment of this study, and the general comments about such studies in general, 100% correct. If you’re going to come to my page and insult me, you best to actually know what you’re talking about. You don’t. If you wish to have an actual productive discussion on the topic, all good. You’ll also find I’m not remotely the only person who’s found this study lacking on many fronts, and I made it clear the results should not be ignored either.
      If you plan to simply insult me, while making comments that show a severe lack of basic knowledge of the topic at hand, don’t bother. It will be removed.
      Good luck

  3. Kenroy Grant 5 years ago

    John…who is the “THEY” you’re talking about who made this scientific statement?? Look, I’m not a college professor or an avid researcher for any fitness and health website or company. What I do know is that we rarely do the diligent work of going through research to see whats beneficial for us and whats not. We are way too eager to listen to someone and say it’s fact. Most of the time people are using a few other individuals work to substantiate their agenda, whatever it may be. We cannot make our decision based on: our gut feeling, the presenters reputation, or what sounds logical. We have to be critical because it’s our body we’re talking about, so yes question everything, and trust the facts that’s left on the table that has been scientifically proven over time and painstaking research.

    • Author
      Will Brink 5 years ago

      Kenroy, the study itself is linked above if you wish to bypass what the media is saying vs what the researchers are saying if interested.

      • Kenroy Grant 5 years ago

        Thanks Will, I’m in school for Alternative Medicine so the research articles can only help, appreciate the information.

  4. Paul (middleagedguy on BBR) 5 years ago

    thanks for the analysis, Will. I looked at this study just before I gave a talk on healthy eating, and used it as an example of how confusing it can be to figure out what to eat or not. I am curious, though, as to your response to the part of the study where they did do a controlled study in mice also showing increased IGF-1 and more and larger tumors in “young” mice. I am not at all convinced right now.

    • Author
      Will Brink 5 years ago

      Glad the info helped your talk on healthy eating Paul 🙂
      Specific to the mice study, examine.com did a good job of breaking down the study and looking at the mouse data you might wanna check out. “Segment is called High-Protein Diets Linked to Cancer: Should You Be Concerned?Journalists are comparing a high-protein diet to smoking.”
      It’s interesting data that applies to mice and suggests a role of IGF-1 in the tumor growth they injected into the mice. It also generates as many Qs as it gives answers, in terms of the roll it may play in humans, and as mentioned in the vid, there’s both potential +/- of having low IGF-1in humans.

  5. John Tierney 5 years ago

    Hi Will !
    I apologise about my comment regarding your education , it ‘is’ irrelevant and it is your prerogative to analyse and comment on any piece of research that you choose to.
    I was educated to degree level at Glasgow University and worked for a brief period as a research assistant at Strathclyde University.
    Cause and effect is not an easy thing to prove as was highlighted during the various Government V’s tobacco lobbyists cases and the amount of research that was required to establish the link between tobacco and cancer – Cancer has a genetic correlation – some people are more prone than others to cancers or various types of cancer – If high levels of animal protein in the diet do increase levels of IGF1 then it follows that , for those individual that have a predisposition to cancer, the aforementioned will be more predisposed to developing cancer because IGF1 can regulate cell growth and development and is an anabolic hormone, i.e. it promotes cell division in the body , which is why these types of hormones can be carcinogenic.
    With respect to ‘bodybuilding’ – I have trained with weights since I was 16 for strength and muscle development for the various sports I have participated in, but I have no time for the ‘Bodybuilding’ scene , which is rife with Steroid and growth hormone abuse – these drugs are extremely dangerous with respect to the quantities used by bodybuilders – the water retention caused by steroid abuse has devastating effects on the heart – the heart has to pump round an extra pint of fluid and the stress caused to the organ can lead to guys at the age of 20 with hearts of 50 year olds – it can cause tumours for the reasons I gave above – the body’s hormones work on a negative feedback loop so the body will shut down it’s inherent production of testosterone when it is taken externally – this can lead to impotence and has obvious withdrawal effects – you also have the mental implications of the drug, i.e. ‘steroid rage’ which has been widely highlighted – HGH is even more dangerous because everything in the body will grow when HGH is taken including bones and organs – that is why many ‘bodybuilders’ have a gap between their two front teeth – jaw bone growth – the joints can grow in a disproportionate manner leaving all sorts of mobility problems on this stuff and again there can be serious heart problems and again tumour risk. On top of this the ‘bodybuilder’ has a predilection to diuretics and laxatives to keep body fat at a minimum during completion times – the whole thing is extremely unhealthy as is the quantities of food they consume in the quest for the ‘perfect’ body.
    As for diet supplements any medically trained professional will question their use and usefulness – I remember during a physiology lecture the lecturer , who had been through medical school – held up a bottle of ‘Lucozade sports’ and laughed at anyone who was prepared to pay nearly £2.00 for a bottle of sugary water – the supplement industry sell unnecessary dietary aids by the use of fallacious jargon that is intentionally used to mislead the consumer ……. As an afterthought it is amazing how many of these ‘bodybuilders’ deny using either steroids or HGH – I think they must think the public are as stupid as they are with there fluid filled bodies and huge disproportionate square jaw bones – they are as natural as the synthetic testosterone they regularly inject or consume orally.
    .

    • Author
      Will Brink 5 years ago

      “I apologise about my comment regarding your education , it ‘is’ irrelevant and it is your prerogative to analyse and comment on any piece of research that you choose to.I was educated to degree level at Glasgow University and worked for a brief period as a research assistant at Strathclyde University. Cause and effect is not an easy thing to prove as was highlighted during the various Government V’s tobacco lobbyists cases and the amount of research that was required to establish the link between tobacco and cancer – Cancer has a genetic correlation – some people are more prone than others to cancers or various types of cancer – If high levels of animal protein in the diet do increase levels of IGF1 then it follows that , for those individual that have a predisposition to cancer, the aforementioned will be more predisposed to developing cancer because IGF1 can regulate cell growth and development and is an anabolic hormone, i.e. it promotes cell division in the body , which is why these types of hormones can be carcinogenic.”
      But you’re already making a seriously flawed mistake in that assessment. “…then it follows that…” is generally not a valid position to take in science and only leads to confusion and wasted time. The connection between IGF-1 and cancer is tenuous at best. Two, as mentioned, there’s also potential negatives to low IGF-1. Three, note in this study for example, after a certain age, the statistical effect was actually reversed. There was a benefit to older adults. Cancer rates don’t go down with age, they tend to go up, hence, various findings and conclusions of this correlational/epi study do not pass the “smell test” for me and many others. Again, see article linked by Monica Mollica which covers in depth some of this topic as it applies to red meat, and or read assessment by Examine.com of this study . Now, I’m not saying it’s not possible that certain individuals with genetic pre dispositions, and some interactions with growth factors such as IGF-1, may indeed have a cause and effect relationship, but it’s far from understood at this time, and far more complex than that. Older adults for example will have lower levels of IGF-1 than younger people, yet higher rates of cancers. Etc, etc. It’s not at all as simple as stating animals proteins -> increased IGF-1 -> cancer, no matter how we wish it were so and as a trained scientist you should know better.
      “With respect to ‘bodybuilding’ – I have trained with weights since I was 16 for strength and muscle development for the various sports I have participated in, but I have no time for the ‘Bodybuilding’ scene , which is rife with Steroid and growth hormone abuse – these drugs are extremely dangerous with respect to the quantities used by bodybuilders – the water retention caused by steroid abuse has devastating effects on the heart – the heart has to pump round an extra pint of fluid and the stress caused to the organ can lead to guys at the age of 20 with hearts of 50 year olds – it can cause tumours for the reasons I gave above – the body’s hormones work on a negative feedback loop so the body will shut down it’s inherent production of testosterone when it is taken externally – this can lead to impotence and has obvious withdrawal effects – you also have the mental implications of the drug, i.e. ‘steroid rage’ which has been widely highlighted – HGH is even more dangerous because everything in the body will grow when HGH is taken including bones and organs – that is why many ‘bodybuilders’ have a gap between their two front teeth – jaw bone growth – the joints can grow in a disproportionate manner leaving all sorts of mobility problems on this stuff and again there can be serious heart problems and again tumour risk. On top of this the ‘bodybuilder’ has a predilection to diuretics and laxatives to keep body fat at a minimum during completion times – the whole thing is extremely unhealthy as is the quantities of food they consume in the quest for the ‘perfect’ body.As for diet supplements any medically trained professional will question their use and usefulness – I remember during a physiology lecture the lecturer , who had been through medical school – held up a bottle of ‘Lucozade sports’ and laughed at anyone who was prepared to pay nearly £2.00 for a bottle of sugary water – the supplement industry sell unnecessary dietary aids by the use of fallacious jargon that is intentionally used to mislead the consumer ……. As an afterthought it is amazing how many of these ‘bodybuilders’ deny using either steroids or HGH – I think they must think the public are as stupid as they are with there fluid filled bodies and huge disproportionate square jaw bones – they are as natural as the synthetic testosterone they regularly inject or consume orally.
      The above has no direct bearing or utility to the discussion at hand so I will not comment here. I’d recommend you take a minute to read some of the articles here on the topic of hormones, and look at my bio. I might know a thing or two about the hormones used in sports and by bbers…Not really the time nor place for dissuasion so AAS/PEDS and does not add any information to this study nor it’s findings.

      • Matt 5 years ago

        Also whilst I agree with the commentators comments about the lucozade we must be careful of simply admitting to authority someone who has passed through med school, and example is a doctor I know has type 2 diabetes because his diet is bad, but he is an expert on infectious diseases and a university teacher, more importantly according to an issue of economist it was revealed that when a prominent biotech company resolved to manufacture and test anti cancer drugs it turned out that 61 of 67 papers they looked at were fundamentally flawed and resulted in unusable drugs despite the findings being published and peer reviewed. Unfortunately the philosophical error of appealing to authority still treads on flimsy ground even in some science circles.
        Also it is well established that whilst the splitting or cells is part of cancer it is the ability to genetically regulate the growth and splitting of these cells, so just because I have more cells because I am muscular does not automatically mean I am going to get cancer, it is only when the regulation of this cell division fails does it become an issue, and most of this is genetically controlled. Of course the actual causes of cancer are still not fully known so articles such as this are moving swiftly into the field of speculation. On balance though I would agree that too much red meat is bad, but then again I like sugar and that’s probably significantly worse.

  6. Chuck S 5 years ago

    Some time ago there was a study that showed that people who ate meat died sooner. Critics said that the people who ate more meat also ate fewer veggies, more total calories, more alcohol, and were less physically active.

    • Author
      Will Brink 5 years ago

      See article linked in vid and below vid for full discussion on red meat if interested in the issues of such study findings.

  7. Lee 5 years ago

    Can you provide article too? I find your videos interesting, but I’m not a fan of watching videos. Plus my connection sucks and sometimes your video quality is not good either, like this one for example.

    • Lee 5 years ago

      my bad, it is my speaker that is broken. still prefer article though 🙂

    • Author
      Will Brink 5 years ago

      I have a decades worth of articles to read on this site, but I like vid these days for rapid communication.

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