‘High protein vs low protein’… How much protein is right for me?

Carbohydrates, proteins and fats, which serve as sources of energy for our body, are known as the three main nutrients. Among them, protein is a source of energy and at the same time a basic element that composes our body. However, the fact that protein plays an important role in many parts of the body does not mean that everyone should eat the most protein. Then, who should eat protein, how and how much?

High protein foodsㅣSource: Clip Art Korea
Colorectal cancer patients need to significantly reduce their protein intake
A recent study has found that colon cancer patients, which account for around 70% of colorectal cancer cases, can starve cancer cells to death if their protein intake is drastically reduced at the start of the treatment.

A research team at the Rogel Cancer Center of the University of Michigan in the United States found that when colon cancer patients start treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy, if they follow a low protein diet for 1 to 2 weeks, cancer cells can be mass-killed . This was confirmed in cell and mouse experiments.

Protein intake activates mTOR and inhibits autophagy. Here, mTOR is a key gene for development and growth, and promotes cell growth when activated. Sustained stimulation of mTOR inhibits autophagy, creating a favorable environment for cancer cell growth. Cancer is because cells ignore the cycle of death and multiply abnormally. The research team explained, “Cells can die if they don’t need nutrients for growth. This is because a low protein diet blocks the signaling pathway of key nutrients that grow cancer.

When cancer develops or chemotherapy is given, protein in the body is likely to be depleted. Therefore, it is undesirable to provide long-term low protein diets to cancer patients. The research team plans to carry out a study to find out when and for how long a low protein diet is suitable for cancer patients.

The results of this study were published in the international journal ‘Gastroenterology’.

Metabolic syndrome patients, protein intake 0.8g per 1kg
Studies have shown that a diet that restricts protein intake is effective in combating metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome refers to a phenomenon where adult diseases related to metabolism such as hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and obesity appear at the same time.

A research team from the Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil, compared and analyzed the effects of a protein and calorie restricted diet on patients with metabolic syndrome. As a result of reducing protein intake to 0.8 g per 1 kg of body weight, all of them lost weight and the symptoms of metabolic syndrome improved. It has been found to lower blood sugar, lose weight, control blood pressure, reduce triglyceride and cholesterol levels, and improve insulin sensitivity. The research team said, “Body fat decreased, but muscle mass did not.” “We have proven that protein restriction reduces body fat while maintaining muscle mass.”

The results of this study were published in the international journal ‘Nutrients’.

High protein foodsㅣSource: Getty Image BankHigh protein foodsㅣSource: Getty Image Bank
Elderly people should instead increase their protein intake
The elderly should pay as much attention to their protein intake as they do during their growth phase. This is because the risk of developing various diseases such as sarcopenia, osteoporosis, and geriatric deafness increases if the elderly do not eat enough protein. However, as a result of a recent analysis of the National Health and Nutrition Survey data from 2010 to 2019 by a research team from the Department of Food and Nutrition at Jeju National University, it was found that most people eat more than the protein daily average. intake, but people over 65 don’t eat enough.

It is known that muscle mass starts to decrease from the age of 40 and decreases by 1-2% every year from the age of 50. To maintain muscle mass in old age, protein intake should be increased to 1.0 to 1.2 g per 1 kg of body weight. However, even if you eat the same protein, it is important to eat ‘complete protein food’ which contains nine essential amino acids which are not synthesized in the body and must supplement through food. Animal foods such as meat, fish, eggs and dairy products fall into this category. Professor Park Yong-woo (Kangbuk Samsung Hospital), a counseling physician at the Department of Family Medicine in Haidak, said, “After the age of 65, you should increase your meat intake and pay attention not to run out of protein intake. “

Elderly people should pay attention to the amount of protein they eat, but they also need to pay special attention to how much is absorbed. Protein is digested by meeting gastric acid and pepsin in the stomach, and this is because the secretion decreases with age. Tofu is a high protein food that is easy to digest. Although beans do not have methionine among the nine essential amino acids, they are suitable for the elderly due to their high utilization rate of amino acids.

Help = Professor Park Yong-woo, counseling doctor at Haidak (Kangbuk Samsung Hospital family medicine specialist)

<저작권©언론사 하이닥, 무단 전재 및 재배포 금지>