Animal Protein Intake Linked to Increased Risk of Death

A study released this week[1]shows that among two very large American study populations (female nurses and male health professionals), those that consumed the most animal protein compared to plant protein had a higher risk of death, particularly cardiovascular disease. The finding was limited to those who also had one other lifestyle risk factor such as physical inactivity or smoking. Breaking it down into specific foods, researchers found that when 3% of energy from plant protein was substituted for an equivalent amount of processed red meat protein, there was a 34% lower risk of death.

These findings are even more impressive when you consider the fact that researchers controlled for age, intake of different types of fat, total energy intake, glycemic index, and intake of whole grains, fiber, fruits and vegetables, smoking, body mass index, vitamin use, physical activity, alcohol intake, history of high blood pressure. In other words, they statistically eliminated many of the beneficial components of plant-based diets to try to isolate the sole effect of dietary protein and still found an effect. When data was adjusted only for age, total energy and fat intake, those consuming the most plant protein were found to have 33% reduced risk of death, 40% reduced risk of cardiovascular death, and 28% reduced risk of cancer death.

This is even more remarkable given the meat-centered diets that study subjects were consuming. Researchers divided the population into groups based on the amount of protein consumed. Even those consuming the most plant-protein consumed almost 60% more animal protein than they did plant protein. None of these groups were consuming anything remotely similar to the whole-food plant-based diet that has been shown to halt or reverse advanced heart disease, diabetes, and early stage prostate cancer.

Bottom line: even among groups of Americans consuming meat and processed food-based diets, there are likely to be survival benefits to accrue from incorporating more plant-based sources of protein.


  1. Song M, Fung T, Hu FB, et al. Association of Animal and Plant Protein Intake With All-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality. JAMA Intern Med 2016.

Thomas Campbell, MD


Thomas M. Campbell, MD is medical director of the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, co-author of The China Study and author of The China Study Solution. He is co-founder and clinical director of the groundbreaking UR Program for Nutrition in Medicine. Their next 7 Day Finger Lakes Immersion at the beautiful Woodcliff Hotel and Spa will start July 23rd in Rochester, NY.

General Medicine Itchy, Red Eyes? How to Tell If It’s Allergy or Infection

If you have red, itchy eyes and it’s hay fever time, you likely assume that allergies are causing the problem — and that you can treat it on your own with over-the-counter eye drops. Unfortunately, it isn’t as simple as that.

Even if you find a guide to help you choose the best eye drops from the drugstore aisle, you may treat for allergies when the real problem is an eye infection.

Before you head to the drugstore, here’s what you need to know about these two very different conditions.

Allergies or infection? Here’s how you can tell

Whether ragweed or pet dander is the culprit, allergens affect the eyes in the same way.

Eye infections can come from many causes — virus, bacteria, parasite or fungus — and the symptoms vary with the cause, but in general, infections have a longer list of symptoms when compared to allergies.

The bottom line is that if anything more than tear-like fluids come from your eye or you feel eye pain, it’s likely more than allergies.

To get the right treatment, you’ll need your eye doctor to find out what’s behind your eye problem.

Eye allergies aren’t contagious but they can be miserable to deal with. If it’s an infection, you run the risk of damaging your eye and/or spreading it to others.

How can you avoid eye problems?

You can minimize your risks for both eye allergies and infections. Keeping windows shut and other easily implemented strategies can help you survive seasonal allergies, while an air purifier can help you cope with indoor allergies.

Conjunctivitis (pink eye) is the most common eye infection, caused by a virus or bacteria. Either way, it’s easily spread.

Frequent hand washing is just one way to help prevent pink eye and other contagious diseases. Taking care with makeup and cosmetic contact lenses also helps prevent bacterial pink eye from spreading.

What to do when allergies or infections strike

Even if you fight the good fight, you may still sometimes need relief from itchy, watery eyes. Depending on your diagnosis, here are treatments that can help.

For allergies: Topical medications are usually better than general allergy remedies for treating eye allergies. Many allergy eye drops are extremely successful in treating symptoms. Some actually work to prevent symptoms by preventing the allergic reaction from getting started.

Your doctor may suggest short-term medications to help control inflammation, such as steroid or anti-inflammatory eye drops. Over-the-counter artificial tears also can help keep eyes moistened and flush out allergens.

For infections: Viral infections generally clear up on their own, but cold compresses and lubricating eye drops can minimize symptoms. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotic eye drops to treat a bacterial eye infection.

For eye infections caused by fungi and parasites, the medication will depend on what’s causing the problem. Your eye doctor can help sort that out.

Getting quick diagnosis and treatment is the key when you have irritated eyes. No matter what’s causing the problem, your eye doctor can help you find the right treatment and the relief you need.

The post Itchy, Red Eyes? How to Tell If It’s Allergy or Infection appeared first on Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic.


Healthy Hiking Snacks

This month marks the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service (NPS). To celebrate, take a hike on your favorite trail, or go to the NPS website to find a park near you, and take one of these healthy snacks along to fuel your journey.

Before You Head Out
Once you select a trail, do some research — especially if you’re planning on a full-day hike. Call the campsite, or research online where you can access water near the trail. Longer hikes may require you to bring water purification tablets, in case you come across a stream or natural source of water, which may contain harmful bacteria or parasites.
For shorter hikes, a Swell bottle can help keep your beverage of choice cold.

Reminder About Food Safety
You’re limited to what you can tote when hiking. You don’t want to carry too much or it might weigh you down (so no large coolers!). You also need to find foods that can take the heat for the extended period of time without refrigeration. Here are several foods you may want to consider picking up before your next adventure.

Beef Jerky
This high-protein snack was created to be a portable option. My favorite brands include:
• Krave
• Think Jerky: Grass-fed beef jerky
• Fusion Jerky

Meat Bars
The latest trend is meat bars, touted to be high-protein bars made with real meat. Healthier brands include:
• Wilde Snacks: Slow-baked meat bars from Boulder, Colo.
• Wild Zora: A mix of meat and veggie bars

Trail Mix
Snacks for hiking should contain maximum nutrition in every bite. You can opt tomake your own trail mix, though skip the chocolate if it’s a hot day (or it will be messy!). You can also tote along a variety of trail mixes that provide a healthy dose of energy along with healthy fats, protein and carbs (from the fruit). Some healthier trail mixes to pick up:
• Dick Stevens Trail Mix (made with pieces of jerky)
• Trader Joe’s Simply the Best Trek Mix

Other Easy Snacks
• Energy bars, such as nut butter-filled Clif bars
• Granola bars similar to Kashi bars that aren’t too soft (those tend to get very mushy)
• Nuts and seeds
• Single-serve squeezable nut butter packs, such as those from Justin’s or Crazy Richards

Bottom line: Whether you’re headed on a short or long hike, advanced planning and snacks can help make your trip a healthier one!

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.