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Red Meat Boosts Digestive Cancer Risk

March 12, 2011

(Article first published as Eating Red Meat Increases Digestive Cancer Risk by Eighty Percent on Technorati.)

Red Meat Shown to Increase Digestive Cancer Risk

Red Meat Shown to Increase Digestive Cancer Risk

Many researchers have made the connection between red meat consumption and a variety of different digestive cancers. The results of a study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology makes a clear link between red meat consumption and esophageal (esophageal squamous cell carcinoma) and stomach cancer (gastric cardia cancer) lines. The study focuses on a type of compound known as DiMelQx that is formed when meat is cooked at high temperatures.

Red Meat Cooked at High Temperatures or Charbroiled Implicated in Increased Cancer Risk

Cooking Meat Produces Heterocyclic Amine, a Known Carcinogen

Cooking Meat Produces Heterocyclic Amine, a Known Carcinogen

Red meat and cooking have been the focus of numerous investigative studies. Researchers have discovered that cooking meats at high temperatures generates heterocyclic amines (HCA`s) as well as N-nitroso compounds and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. These compounds have been shown to cause colorectal and other gastrointestinal cancers through several biochemical mechanisms. Unbound iron in red meat has also been shown to promote cancer development.

Study Makes Direct Link to Dramatic Rise in Cancer Risk

Investigators from the National Cancer Institute tracked the health of nearly 500,000 Americans aged 50 to 71 for a period of 10 years. The study examined nutritional habits including meat consumption and preparation as well as smoking, exercise and body weight. Those participants who ate the most meat were 79% more likely to develop esophageal squamous cell carcinoma compared to those who ate the least meat.

Cooking Byproducts Multiply Cancer Risk

When meat is cooked at high temperatures using methods such as grilling, frying or searing, fats at the surface of the meat are chemically altered to become mutagenic compounds known as HCA`s and DiMelQx. The study authors concluded “We found positive associations between red meat intake and esophageal squamous cell carcinoma, and between DiMeIQx intake and gastric cardia cancer.”

Protecting Yourself From Stomach Cancer

Frying Meats Directly Linked to Esophageal Cancer in Study

Frying Meats Directly Linked to Esophageal Cancer in Study

Stomach cancer will be diagnosed in 21,000 men and women annually with nearly 11,000 deaths as a result. The natural alternative would be to eat a Mediterranean style diet focused on fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, fish and healthy monounsaturated fats such as olive oil. Vegetables are best eaten raw or lightly steamed to avoid the byproducts of overcooking. Choose limited quantities of white meat that have been roasted (with skin removed) to avoid excess iron and charring.

Stomach and esophageal cancers are yet another example of preventable disease. These cancers occur largely as a result of food choices and cooking methods. Eliminate most meat from your diet and include plenty of raw vegetables and fruits to lead a healthy life free from cancer risk.

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