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More Bad News about Red Meat


Updated: August 26, 2006

Many studies indicate that eating a lot of red meat increases a person's risk of developing colorectal cancer. Here's one more to add to the pile. This study involved more than 140,000 men and women and was led by the American Cancer Society. Researchers collected information about the participants' eating habits over a ten-year period. When the study was over, the average age of participants was 63.

In comparing red meat consumption to colorectal cancer incidence, researchers found that people who ate a lot of red meat were 30-40% more likely to develop cancer of the lower colon and rectum than people who didn't eat much red meat.

How much is "a lot" of red meat?

For the purposes of this study, high red meat intake was classified as 3 ounces of red meat a day for men and 2 ounces of red meat a day for women. Low red meat intake was classified as less than 2 ounces of red meat twice a week for men and less than one ounce of red meat twice a week for women. An ounce of meat is about the size of a fist.

What does this mean for you?

Well, if you're trying to reduce your risk of developing colorectal cancer, it would be a good idea to evaluate your red meat consumption. You now have an idea of how much is too much with regard to colorectal cancer risk, so the choice is yours.

Related Research: Source: Chao, A. and Thun, M. "Meat Consumption and Risk of Colorectal Cancer." Journal of the American Medical Association 293.2 (Jan. 2005): 172-182. 26 Aug. 2006 [http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/short/293/2/172].

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