12 December 2007

Meat and Cancer Link

Be mindful of what you eat this holiday season:
People who ate the most red meat were 25 percent more likely to be diagnosed with bowel, liver, lung and esophageal cancer during the eight-year study, compared to those who consumed small amounts of this type of meat.

The researchers also found that people who ate the most processed meats, including bacon, ham, and lunch meat, had a 20 percent higher risk of colorectal cancer and a 16 percent higher risk of lung cancer.

[Fox News, 11 Dec 2007]

Other significant points:

  • This is a big prospective study involving approximately 500,000 people aged 50–71 years old, from six states in the US (CA, FL, LA, NJ, NC, and PA) and followed up from 1995-96 to 2003-04. The participants, who all had no cancer previously, completed a questionnaire about their dietary habits over the previous year and provided other personal information such as their age, weight, and smoking history.

  • The study indicated that high red meat intake is associated with an increased risk of esophageal and liver cancer, and that 1 in 10 colorectal and 1 in 10 lung cancers could be avoided if people reduced their red and processed meat intake to the lowest quintile.

  • Limitations - most of the study participants were non-Hispanic white, therefore, these findings may not apply to people with different genetic backgrounds. Also, the study's definitions of red meat and processed meat overlapped --— bacon and ham, for example, were included in both categories --- exactly which type of meat is related to cancer remains unclear.

  • In spite of the study limitations, the authors emphasized that "decreased consumption of red and processed meats could reduce the incidence of several types of cancer."

  • Possible explanation of meat-cancer link - both red meat and processed meat are sources of saturated fat and iron, which have independently been associated with carcinogenesis. Associations between saturated fat and cancer are likely to be related to energy balance in general, whereas iron is thought to contribute to carcinogenesis specifically by generating free radicals and inducing oxidative stress. Meat is also a source of several known mutagens, which are compounds known to cause cancer, including N-nitroso compounds (NOCs), heterocyclic amines (HCAs), and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

So, if I were you, I will not touch that ham and lechon. *LOL*

2 reactions:

mari said...

ok, i will just look at the lechon. sayang, sarap pa naman ng balat. haha!

bayi said...

If lechon is so delicious, it would be a waste not to eat it, right? :)

I am a meat lover. Hahaha...