Eating a lot of animal-based proteins, including meat, cheese and milk, in your 50s and early 60s could increase your risk of dying from cancer, according to a new study. Ease up on the meat and cheese — high-proteins diets aren’t great for you either, a new study suggests.Researchers found that people who eat animal protein-heavy diets in their 50s and early 60s were four times more likely to die of cancer than their peers who ate low-protein foods. They were also 74% more likely to die at an earlier age, according to the study of more than 6,000 Americans.However, the opposite is true for adults over the age of 65, researchers said. The older folks who ate moderate- or high-protein diets were less susceptible to disease. Researchers defined high-protein dieters as those who got at least 20% of their calories from protein, whether animal- or plant-based. The people who got 10% to 19% of their calories from protein were considered moderate protein eaters, while those who ate less than 10% protein fell in the low-protein category. The scientists found that plant-based proteins like beans and nuts did not have the same effects as animal-based proteins like meat, milk and cheese. Excess carbohydrate or fat consumption did not impact the results, according to the study. How much protein should you be eating? Popular weight loss plans like the Paleo and Atkins diets focus on a high intake of animal proteins, but this study suggests that they could be detrimental in the long term. Study co-author Valter Longo, director of the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California and the founder of a company that makes plant-based “Fasting Mimicking & Enhancing” foods, said most Americans are eating double the protein they should. “It seems that the best change would be to lower the daily intake of all proteins but especially animal-derived proteins,” Longo said in a release. “But don’t get extreme in cutting out protein; you can go from protected to malnourished very quickly.” The study was published in the journal Cell Metabolism.