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Watch what you eat: Red Meat Increase Risk of Breast Cancer
- Updated: June 11, 2014
Replacing red meat with poultry, dairy, and fish products and increasing intake of vegetables may increase the risk of breast cancer.
Diets high in red meats are associated with higher risk of breast cancer, according to results from the Harvard School of Public Health study published June 10 online in the British Medical Journal.
Previous studies did not detect any significant link between how much red meat a woman ate in her adult life and her odds of dying from breast cancer so, in present study, the researchers examined the connection between dietary protein consumed in early adulthood and cancer.
Researchers tracked the diets of 89,000 women who took part in the Nurses’ Health Study II. At the end of the study there were 2,830 cases of breast cancer reported during the 20 years. Questions on food eaten in adolescence were included.
The team found that women who consumed the 1.5 servings a day appeared to have a 22% higher risk of the breast cancer compared with women consuming one serving of red meat a week.
“Cutting down processed meat, limiting intake of red meat, and substituting a combination of poultry, fish, legumes and nuts as protein sources for red meat during early life seems beneficial for the prevention of breast cancer,” said lead researcher Maryam Farvid, who’s with the Harvard School of Public Health’s Department of Nutrition.
“Reduction of red meat intake in the diet not only decreases the risk of breast cancer but also decreases the risk of other chronic diseases, such as coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other kind of cancers, as well,” Farvid said.
However, because this is a so-called observational study, the connection betwen breast cancer and red meat isn’t clear and further study of the relation between diet and risk of breast cancer is needed.