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Cancer From Eating Meat

A large-scale American study has unearthed further evidence linking red and processed meat consumption to an increased risk of cancer. Make sure you limit your meat consumption – for the sake of your health.

Studies: Meat causes cancer

Researchers from the American National Cancer Institute evaluated the data from the study, in which 494,000 participants took part. The participants, aged between 50 and 71, completed an extensive questionnaire about their dietary habits at the start of the study and were then followed for 8 years.

Red and processed meats are particularly problematic

Red meat was defined in the study as pork, beef, and lamb. The researchers found that subjects with particularly high consumption of red meat had a 25% increased risk of developing colon cancer. The risk of lung cancer was increased by 20% and the risk of esophageal and liver cancer was increased between 20% and 60%.

The participants who consumed processed meat particularly frequently (including ham, sausage, etc.) had a 20% higher risk of colon cancer and a 16% higher risk of developing lung cancer.

Increased intake of red and processed meat is also associated with an increased risk of pancreatic cancer in men. According to the researchers, 1 in 10 lung and colon cancers can be avoided by reducing the intake of red meat.

Cancer associated with poor diet

Previous studies have linked meat intake to an increased risk of cancer, particularly stomach and colon cancer.

Other studies have shown a clear link between meat intake and risk.

  • bladder cancer
  • lung cancer
  • ovarian cancer
  • breast cancer
  • cervical cancer
  • esophageal cancer
  • kidney cancer
  • liver cancer
  • oral cancer
  • pancreatic cancer
  • prostate cancer
  • to get sick.

Many scientists believe that approximately 35% of all cancers are directly related to diet. Scientists are not sure whether meat consumption actually triggers cancer or whether it is just an additional risk factor. However, research indicates that meat contains a variety of carcinogenic compounds, some of which are formed during cooking or processing.

Heat produces carcinogenic compounds

Examples of these possible carcinogens include heme iron (iron found in meat), nitrates and nitrites, saturated fat, hormones, and salt. All of these substances have been shown to affect hormone metabolism, increase cell proliferation, damage DNA, stimulate insulin-like growth factors, and promote cell damage from free radicals. And all of these factors can eventually lead to cancer.

Further studies are needed to investigate certain nutrients in meat, such as iron, but also carcinogenic substances such as heterocyclic amines or nitrosamines, produced by certain cooking methods, especially in relation to rare cancers.

The researchers also found that certain husbandry practices, such as the use of antibiotics, could also contribute to the carcinogenicity of meat.

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Written by Bella Adams

I'm a professionally-trained, executive chef with over ten years in Restaurant Culinary and hospitality management. Experienced in specialized diets, including Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw foods, whole food, plant-based, allergy-friendly, farm-to-table, and more. Outside of the kitchen, I write about lifestyle factors that impact well-being.

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