Are High Protein Diets Bad for Prostate Health?

High protein diets like the Atkins diet sound great to many people. Eat all the food that you love without feeling hungry and while losing weight? A weight loss diet that says you can eat all the bacon you want sounds too good to be true…and that is exactly right. High protein diets are actually bad for your health and especially detrimental to the health of your heart and your prostate.

Dangers of High Protein Diets

The American Heart Association does not recommend high protein diets, which are low in fruits, vegetables, and fiber. People initially lose weight because they lose water. Then without any extra carbohydrates coming in, the body starts to burn its own fat to get fuel. This process is called ketosis and can lead to such side effects like heart palpitations, nausea, kidney problems, headaches, and irritability. Eating too much animal fat and dairy associated with high protein diets can raise your cholesterol put you at higher risk for a heart attack or stroke and increase your risk for prostate cancer. High protein diets also increase risk of osteoporosis and malnutrition because the body is not getting vital nutrients and antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables.

Trading Meat for Plant-Based Protein

A better plan for your heart and your prostate is to trade red meat for plant-based protein and to eat a well-rounded diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Good sources of plant proteins include fermented soy, beans, lentils, quinoa, split peas, amaranth, kamut, buckwheat, seitan, and tempeh. Tempeh is a type of fermented soybean with high levels of protein.  You may want to transition to plant protein gradually one food at a time and in small portions to prevent gas.

Fermented soy is a healthier type of soy. Soybeans are fermented by adding beneficial yeast, mold, or bacteria to destroy toxins found in the soy and make the nutrients easier to digest. Soy that has been fermented has a higher level of isoflavones. Examples of fermented soy include:

  • Tempeh
  • Miso
  • Natto
  • Soy sauce
  • Fermented soy milk or yogurt
  • Fermented soy powder
  • Fermented tofu

You may need to visit an Asian market to find the bottom three types of fermented soy. Regular soy milk is not fermented.

It is also important to be aware of the quality of the soy that you eat. Avoid genetically modified and highly processed soy ingredients (often found in soy protein bars) such as “soy protein isolate” and “textured soy vegetable protein.

The Prostate Diet

A much more nutritious diet than the high protein diets is The Prostate Diet.  This diet is almost the opposite of high protein diets and provides guidelines for preventing prostate cancer and supporting the health of your prostate, heart, and your whole body. The foundations of this diet include maximizing your intake of fruits and vegetables, eating healthy fats, eating plant protein over animal protein, avoiding red meat, taking supplements that support prostate health, staying hydrated, drinking green tea, and eating cancer-killing foods like lycopene-rich tomatoes.

The prostate cancer diet includes a good source of protein in fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, sardines, herring, oysters, anchovies, and tuna. Omega-3 has many health benefits including helping to prevent cancer cell growth. Try to eat one of these foods at least once a week. You can also get omega-3 and from a plant source such as flaxseed oil.

While it is important to maintain a healthy weight for the health of your prostate (and to protect your heart and prevent type-2 diabetes), you have to make good choices. Quick weight loss, high protein diets are not good for you and don’t help with long-term weight control. A lifestyle change that incorporates whole foods over processed foods and the foundations of The Prostate Diet are going to provide you with good nutrition and long-term health benefits. If a diet seems too good to be true it probably is.