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Japanese study finds FDA RDA for meat may cause dementia

A study conducted by Dr. Megumi Tsubota-Utsugi of the National Institute of Health and Nutrition in Japan and colleagues at Tohoku University and Teikyo University, Japan, published in the March 12, 2014, edition of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society indicates that the U. S. FDA recommended daily allowance for animal protein (meat) may be a cause of the rise in rates of dementia in the United States.

Displays help to explain a new food icon during an event June 2, 2011 at the Agriculture Department in Washington.
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

The researchers in Japan examined the diet of 1,007 individuals with an average age of 67.4 years and at an average age of 74.4 years of age and found that people who ate more animal protein had higher-level functional capacity including social and intellectual capability.

The men that ate the most animal protein had a 39 percent higher-level functional capacity. No improvement in mental or physical function was found to be correlated with higher plant protein intake or higher vegetable intake.

The enzyme systems that are involved with the digestion of meat are produced at lower levels as people age. This decrease can be compensated for by eating more meat.

The FDA in the United States recommends a decrease in the amount of meat consumed by men after age 50. The U. S. FDA also recommends consumption of other sources of protein besides animal protein.

While the Japanese study is a small study and the first that demonstrates the relationship between animal protein and mental health, one must consider that the recommendations of the FDA may have contributed to the increased rates of dementia in the United States over the last 30 years. One should also note that the FDA recommendations for diet are based on a maintaining a healthy heart, low cholesterol, and low weight.

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