Eating too much food containing sulfur amino acids – primarily found in proteins such as beef, chicken and dairy – may increase a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease and death, according to new preliminary research as reported in the American Heart Association News (AHA).
Sulfur amino acids are essential for metabolism and overall health, but the average person in the United States consumes far more than needed – as much as two and a half times the estimated average requirement.
“This may provide part of the reason why people who consume diets that emphasize healthy plant foods have lower rates of cardiovascular disease than those who eat large amounts of meat and dairy foods,” said Laila Al-Shaar, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Penn State University College of Medicine in Hershey, Pennsylvania. She led the study presented Thursday at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention, Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health conference in Chicago.
The researchers analyzed data from 120,699 people in two long-term national studies, the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Participants completed detailed health questionnaires, including questions about their diets, every two to four years.