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Eating Well-Done Red Meat Might Increase Breast Cancer Risk

Posted May 23 2011 10:15am
The impact of red meat consumption on breast cancer risk has been a contentious and highly debated topic.  The scientific literature on the effects of eating red meat on breast cancer risk remains rather inconsistent; however, a number of studies suggest that eating red meat increases a person's risk for breast cancer.  This appears to be due to at least a couple of things; the formation of carcinogens when red meat is cooked at a high temperature and a possible link between animal product consumption and increased steroid levels .

Information from the Nashville Breast Health Study was analyzed recently in order to examine the possible relationship between eating red meat and breast cancer risk .  Breast cancer researchers collected information on red meat intake, including amounts consumed, cooking methods, and doneness levels, from almost 2,400 breast cancer patients and 1,700 healthy women.  Analysis of the data showed that
  • High levels of red meat consumption were strongly linked to an increased risk for breast cancer.
  • Eating large amounts of well-done red meat increased breast cancer risk by 50% on average compared to low levels of red meat intake.
  • The link between eating red meat and breast cancer risk was slightly stronger in postmenopausal women than in premenopausal women.
  • Meat-derived chemicals that can cause DNA changes were also shown to increase breast cancer risk, but only among postmenopausal women.
The results of this newest study on the possible link between red meat consumption and breast cancer risk clearly suggests that eating large amounts of red meat, particularly when cooked well done, increases breast cancer risk.  This increased breast cancer risk appears greatest in postmenopausal women.  While this does not mean that you can't eat red meat, it does suggest that you should make wise decisions regarding how much red meat you eat and how you prepare your food.  According to the American Cancer Society , we should eat more fish, poultry, and beans and limit our intake of beef and pork.  Fish, poultry, and beans are all excellent sources of protein and have a much lower saturated fat content.  If you choose to eat red meat, it is a good idea to cook at lower temperatures to reduce the formation of cancer causing chemicals or cook red meat by methods other than frying or grilling such as broiling or baking.  The easiest way to reduce your red meat intake is to eat the appropriate serving size (3 - 4 ounces) instead of the 12-16 ounces many of us eat at a sitting.

To learn about other diet and lifestyle choices to reduce your breast cancer risk, read my FREE book FIGHT NOW: EAT & LIVE PROACTIVELY AGAINST BREAST CANCER . Please recommend to anyone interested in breast cancer, breast cancer treatment, and breast cancer symptoms.
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