How does diet affect cancer risk?
There have been discussions for a long time about how the consumption of red meat affects human health. Of course there are people who have been eating red meat for several years without experiencing any negative effects. However, there are critics who believe that red meat does significant harm to the human body. Researchers have now found that not eating red meat leads to a significant reduction in the risk of cancer.
In their current study, scientists from the University of Leeds and the University of the Basque Country in Spain found that eating red meat greatly increased the risk of cancer, especially the risk of a certain type of colon cancer. The experts published their results in the English-language journal "International Journal for Cancer".
Researchers analyze the data from 32,147 women
In the study, the medical team examined the effects of eating red meat, poultry, fish and vegetarian food on the risk of colon and rectal cancer. To this end, the researchers collected the data from 32,147 women aged 35 to 69 in England, Wales and Scotland who took part in the British Women's Cohort Study. On average, the participants were medically monitored over a period of 17 years. After assessing women's diet, the researchers examined four common eating habits.
Participants were divided into four groups
In the study, subjects were classified as vegetarians if they consumed red meat, poultry or fish less than once a week. Participants were defined as fish eaters who ate fish at least once a week, but did not eat poultry and red meat. Subjects from the poultry eater group consumed poultry once a week, were allowed to eat fish, but did not eat red meat. Red meat consumers were defined as those who consumed meat at least once a week and possibly also consumed poultry and fish. Beef, pork, lamb, offal and processed meat were referred to as red meat.
Red meat increases the risk of distal colon cancer
When examining the relationship between each diet and the risk of cancer, the researchers found that people who ate red meat regularly had higher rates of distal colon cancer compared to people who did not eat red meat.
Which types of cancer increase the risk?
Previous research has shown that high intake of red or processed meat can increase the risk of cancer. For example, a report by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in 2015 found that eating processed meat increases the risk of colon and rectal cancer, as well as pancreatic and prostate cancer. For this study, the results of a total of 800 studies from around the world were analyzed. (as)