Meat Eaters Beware

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In a study from the National Cancer Center in the Republic of Korea, researchers found that red meat consumption increased cancer risk. Lifestyle questionnaires and dietary recalls were completed on 8,024 people who had participated in a cancer screening examination. During the next five to nine years, 387 of those people developed cancer. Results showed that those people who scored highest on intakes of red meat and/or sodium or who were overweight had the highest risk for developing cancer, especially gastric and thyroid cancers. People who had all three risk factors and who consumed few fruits and vegetables had a 26% higher risk for cancer than people who had fewer of these risk factors. 

Women who eat red meat increase their risk for breast cancer by almost 25%, while replacing red meat with fish, legumes, nuts, and lean poultry lowers risk by 14%, according to a 20-year study from Harvard School of Public Health. 

Compared with people who eat none, those people who frequently include processed red meats in their diets shorten their lives by at least 9 months. Moderate to high consumption of unprocessed red meat also was associated with shorter lives, according to a study from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. 

Men who regularly eat processed red meats, such as ham, salami, hot dogs, and luncheon meats, raise their risk for heart failure by 28%, state researchers at Warsaw University of Life Sciences in Sweden. 

Wie G, Cho Y, Kang H, et al: Red meat consumption is associated with an increased overall cancer risk. British Journal of Nutrition 2014;112:238-247.

Farvid M, Cho E, Chen W, et al: Dietary protein sources in early adulthood and breast cancer incidence. British Medical Journal 2014;June 10th.

Kaluza J, Akesson A, Wolk A: Processed and unprocessed red meat consumption and risk of heart failure. Circulation: Heart Failure 2014; 7:552-557.

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