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Study investigates the benefits of a low-protein diet

A recent study investigating the benefits of a low-protein diet finds a strong association with a lower risk of cardiometabolic disease.

Proteins are made up of 20 types of amino acids. Sulfur amino acids are a sub-category of amino acids that are an essential dietary component and have an important role in overall health. The established nutritional requirement levels for total sulfur amino acids is 15 milligrams per kilogram per day and a recommended daily allowance of 19 milligrams per kilogram per day.

Previous research in animals has suggested that reducing the intake of sulfur amino acid could increase life expectancy and reduce cardiometabolic diseases.

In a recent study, researchers analyzed the surveyed data of 11,576 healthy participants from the United States. These surveys were obtained in a national study from 1988 to 1994. The data of the selected participants were sorted into five groups based on total adjusted sulfur amino acid intake. The researchers collected dietary information obtained from the survey and calculated a composite cardiometabolic disease risk score. The composite risk score was based on the following biomarkers: blood pressure, kidney function tests, total cholesterol levels, triglycerides, insulin, blood sugar levels, hemoglobin, and C-reactive protein. The risk score was calculated from zero to 12, with 12 indicating highest risk. The researchers also looked into other risk factors that may affect sulfur amino acid intake, such as age, sex, body mass index (BMI), smoking, alcohol intake, and diet.

The researchers found that sulfur amino acid intake was higher from animal protein compared with vegetables, grain, fruit, and legumes. The researchers reported significantly higher consumption of sulfur amino acids that recommended, which were associated with an increase in cardiometabolic disease risk.

The findings suggest that consuming a diet that is lower in sulfur amino acids could reduce the risk of developing cardiometabolic diseases. The dietary patterns associated with lower sulfur amino acid intake were associated with greater intake of plant-derived protein rather than meat-derived protein.

Although the analyzed data was collected 26 years ago, this was the first study to explore the relationship between sulfur amino acid intake and cardiometabolic disease risk in adults. According to the researchers, the “findings may have important public health implications for chronic disease prevention.”


Written by Manuel Bangsil, PharmD, MBA, BCMAS



Matthews, C. (2009). On horizon 2050 – billions needed for agriculture. Retrieved 4 February 2020, from

Dong, Z., Gao, X., Chinchilli, V., Sinha, R., Muscat, J., Winkels, R., & Richie, J. (2020). Association of sulfur amino acid consumption with cardiometabolic risk factors: Cross-sectional findings from NHANES III. Eclinicalmedicine, 100248. doi: 10.1016/j.eclinm.2019.100248

Schindo, B. (2020). Lower protein diet may lessen risk for cardiovascular disease. Retrieved 3 February 2020, from

Image by Deborah Breen Whiting from Pixabay



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