The Relationship Between Red Meat & Cancer

April 15, 2016
Red Meat & Cancer

Chock full of protein and iron, red meat has been a huge part of American diets for decades. From tacos and hamburgers to steaks, hot dogs, sausages and roasts, some of the country's most popular foods all contain at least some percentage of beef. But does red meat cause cancer? According to numerous studies, the answer is probably, yes.
New Report Draws Attention
According to a recent report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), sausage, jerky, bacon, ham, cold cuts and other processed meats all cause cancer. What's more, the report also suggests that all types or red meat are likely to increase the risk of certain forms of cancer.
To reach their findings, researchers reviewed more than 800 scientific studies. Ultimately, they found a definitive correlation between processed meats and colorectal cancer, stomach cancers and other cancers of the digestive tract. At the same time, they found strong evidence that unprocessed red meat may also cause cancer.
How Much Can You Eat?
Right now, scientists aren't exactly sure why red meat may cause cancer. While some blame chemicals produced during the cooking process, others believe red meats promote the growth of certain types of gut flora, which may produce carcinogenic chemicals as byproducts. Whatever the case, a person's risk for cancer appears to increase depending on how much red meat he or she eats per week.
What You Can Do
To reduce your risk, limit the amount of red meat you eat. According to the IARC, goat, mutton, lamb, pork, veal and beef all qualify as red meat. With this in mind, try replacing these with chicken, turkey and fish when possible.
You can also reduce your risk of cancer and other health problems by eating five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables each day.

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