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High Protein Diet Found Beneficial 

Contrary to what many conventional medical authorities, vegetarians, and other promoters of low-fat diets say, consumption of very high levels of protein may not have adverse effects and may in fact boost antioxidant levels, new research from Germany has found.

Since "The maximum dietary protein intake that does not cause adverse effects in a healthy population is uncertain," as the researchers note, they decided to test their theory that increased protein consumption would induce greater oxidative stress in order to determine this threshold of protein consumption at which adverse effects could be seen.

Researchers performed tests on laboratory rats, splitting them up into groups receiving one of three different levels of dietary protein:


  • 14% of total calories
  • 26% of total calories
  • 51% of total calories

After 15 weeks of feeding on the specific protein level diets, various parameters of antioxidant status were measured.

Much to the authors surprise, it was found that the groups consuming the higher protein diets had better antioxidant parameters than the lower protein diets, such as reduced lipid peroxide levels.

"Long-term intake of high protein diets did not increase variables of oxidative stress, in contrast to our initial hypothesis," the authors concluded. "An unexpected finding was that adequate (14%) protein feeding may in fact induce oxidative stress," they add.

Journal of Nutrition 2000; 130: 2889-2896

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