HernAndez-Alonso P , Salas-Salvado J , Ruiz-Canela M , Corella D , Estruch R , FitO M , ArOs F , GOmez-Gracia E , Fiol M , Lapetra J , Basora J , Serra-Majem L , MuNoz MA , Buil-Cosiales P , Saiz C , BullO M. - 47706 N - Clin Nutr 2016 ; 35(2) : 496-506.

High dietary protein intake is associated with an increased body weight and total death risk

Background & aims High dietary protein diets are widely used to manage overweight and obesity. However, there is a lack of consensus about their long-term efficacy and safety. Therefore, the aim of this study was to assess the effect of long-term high-protein consumption on body weight changes and death outcomes in subjects at high cardiovascular risk.
Methods A secondary analysis of the PREDIMED trial was conducted. Dietary protein was assessed using a food-frequency questionnaire during the follow-up. Cox proportional hazard models were used to estimate the multivariate-adjusted hazard ratio (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (95%CI) for protein intake in relation to the risk of body weight and waist circumference changes, cardiovascular disease, cardiovascular death, cancer death and total death.
Results Higher total protein intake, expressed as percentage of energy, was significantly associated with a greater risk of weight gain when protein replaced carbohydrates (HR: 1.90; 95%CI: 1.05, 3.46) but not when replaced fat (HR: 1.69; 95%CI: 0.94, 3.03). However, no association was found between protein intake and waist circumference. Contrary, higher total protein intake was associated with a greater risk of all-cause death in both carbohydrate and fat substitution models (HR: 1.59; 95%CI: 1.08, 2.35; and HR: 1.66; 95%CI: 1.13, 2.43, respectively). A higher consumption of animal protein was associated with an increased risk of fatal and non-fatal outcomes when protein substituted carbohydrates or fat.
Conclusions Higher dietary protein intake is associated with long-term increased risk of body weight gain and overall death in a Mediterranean population at high cardiovascular risk.