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Spotlight on Reduction of Chronic Disease Risk: A Review of Protein’s Contribution

Diet and lifestyle modifications remain the cornerstone of chronic disease prevention and management. A growing body of evidence suggests that a balanced diet that includes adequate protein – characterized as protein intake above the Recommended Dietary Allowance of 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, but well within the Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range for protein of 10% to 35% of total dietary energy – contributes to overall health and reduces the risk of some chronic diseases.

Research also points to milk products in the reduction of risk for some common chronic diseases, likely as a result of the multiple nutrient components present in milk, including high-quality protein. Specifically, moderate consumption of milk protein may reduce risk factors for heart disease by improving an individual’s blood lipid profile and reducing blood pressure. Individuals at risk of or diagnosed with type 2 diabetes may also benefit from this macronutrient via improved glycemic regulation. Finally, milk protein consumption has advantages for body composition, which is beneficial for individuals trying to maintain a healthy body weight, or elderly individuals trying to prevent age-related muscle loss.

These findings support the promotion of dietary protein within the recommended Dietary Reference Intakes, and are consistent with eating at least two, and up to four, daily servings of Milk and Alternatives, as recommended in Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide. Given the aging Canadian population, the rising prevalence of obesity and the fact that heart disease and type 2 diabetes are two of the most significant causes of morbidity and mortality in Canada, optimizing protein intake, including adequate consumption of milk products, is not only relevant to, but also timely for, improving the health of the Canadian population.

Keywords: chronic disease , blood lipid , protein , cardiovascular disease , hypertension , type 2 diabetes , healthy weight

Spotlight on nutrition

Spotlight on nutrition

A review of the effects of protein on chronic diseases

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