Red Meat Raises Cancer Risk

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red meat

We used to eat a lot of red meat in our house – meatballs, and steak, hamburgers and brisket. With four hungry boys to feed, it seemed meat was the perfect way to feed their empty bellies. Now we limit our red meat intake to holidays and special occasions. It wasn’t just a financial decision, it was a health-based decision too. It seems that eating red meat often just is not good for our overall health. I always knew that it was linked to heart issues, but excessive consumption can also lead to cancer!

A new study, published online in the Archives of Internal Medicine, has concluded that eating red meat increases death from cancer and heart disease. The more red meat one eats, the bigger the risk. The  study followed over 120,000 women and men over a 26 year period. In that time, over 23,000 people involved in the study died, almost 6,000 of them from heart disease, and over 9,400 from cancer.

The study also found that people who ate red meat regularly were less inclined to work out, more likely to smoke, and were heavier than those who did not partake of red meat on a regular basis. Researchers found that a daily increase of 3 ounces of red meat was associated with a 12% greater risk of dying – 16% of those deaths due to heart issues and 10% due to cancer.

The researchers estimated that the deaths would have been less – 9.3 % less in men and 7.6% less for the women – if those studied had only eaten half the red meat that was reported.

The study’s author, Dr Frank B. Hu who is a professor of medicine at Harvard said “When you have these numbers in front of you, it’s pretty staggering.”

How often do you eat red meat? Is this study going to change the way you think about red meat, will it encourage you to cut down on your consumption?