Animal protein can be a double edged sword. On one hand, some evidence suggests that high intakes of animal protein are linked to certain diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. On the other hand, meat is a good source of a number of nutrients including iron. Associations between animal protein and disease are controversial because it is generally low quality and refined animal protein that bares the association with disease. Certainly, there are examples of groups of humans who eat very high intakes of animal protein and suffer no ill effects. However, if the animal protein was of a lower quality, or refined, this may not be the case. Protein is required in the diet in order to supply essential amino acids, and plants do contain protein. However animal protein is far superior in this respect because it contains a better range of essential amino acids. A certain amount of animal protein may therefore be beneficial, and any detrimental effects of high intakes may only occur with lower quality produce.
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