In October 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) published a report that eating red meat causes cancer. There were also concerns that the inward use of thermally unprocessed meat provokes cancerous growths. Is there, however, an actual causal relationship between the inclusion of red meat in the food and the disease? What are the mechanisms by which this meat can cause cancer? Is there anything we can do to reduce the potential risk without completely abandoning this product? Here are some of the issues addressed in the article.
Consuming red meat is good in the context of an overall healthy lifestyle. As in most cases, its dose is important, and it would be reasonable to reduce it in your diet (in particular, processed). There is a clear link between eating red meat and cancer (colorectal cancer), but causality cannot be established considering various factors and the lack of intervention research. Processed product and cancer correlate more strongly than unprocessed red meat ...
Some scientists recommend eating no more than one or two servings per month of processed and no more than one or two servings per week of unprocessed product. Others offer <300 grams per week. The World Cancer Research Foundation allows you to consume <500 grams per week. There is not enough evidence to conclude a finally safe level for the human body.
There are some mechanisms by which product intake can be carcinogenic, but these risks are significantly mitigated by some interventions on your part. The relationship between meat and cancer is pragmatic, because you can control how much red meat is consumed, but this is not the main factor contributing to the risk of disease. There are also health benefits, therefore, despite the potential dangerous connection, its use can sometimes be useful.
What type of cancer causes red meat?
Cancer covers many diseases. Colorectal (colon or rectal cancer) is the third leading cause of death in the United States and around the world. This is a specific species with which significant consumption of red meat was associated. Less convincing evidence also found a relationship between the inclusion in the diet of meat product and an increased risk of developing breast, pancreas, lung, esophagus, stomach, liver, stomach, bladder, head and neck cancers, and prostate, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and multiple myeloma.
According to the WHO, red meat refers to the whole meat of mammals (beef, veal, pork, lamb, horse meat and goat meat). Processed product refers to meat that has been transformed by salting out, curing, fermenting, smoking, or other means to improve the taste or preserve it. "WHO classifies processed meat as a carcinogen of group 1 and group 2A. The product from group 1 is defined as" carcinogenic human, "while 2A probably causes cancer.
It is important to note that for the classification of Group 1, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) states that meat is classified because of its adverse effect on experimental animals. Based on the classification of groups 2A, the organization claims that the product is classified as a dangerous species (there is inadequate evidence of carcinogenicity in humans and examples of adverse effects on experimental animals). Carcinogenesis is mediated by a mechanism that also works in humans.
Danger of red meat
In a 2017 study, scientists concluded that consuming 100 g of raw red product per day was associated with an increased risk of development:
- breast cancer (11%);
- colorectal cancer (17%);
- progressive prostate cancer (19%).
Scientists also reported that the use of 50 g of the processed product per day was associated with an increase in education:
- prostate cancer (4%);
- cancer mortality (8%);
- breast cancer (9%);
- colorectal cancer (18%);
- pancreatic cancer (19%).
In another scientific work since December 2017, similar data on colorectal cancer are reported. This analysis (based on 25 studies) concludes that there is a linear dependence on dose and response between processed and unprocessed meat and this type of disease. Consumption of 100 g of unprocessed product per day was associated with a relative risk of 1.12, while 50 g of the treated product was associated with indicators of 1.17.
2 servings per day of unprocessed and 4 servings of cured product combine with a 1.8-fold increase in cancer risk. This review also reported that the consumption of red meat in combination with a high amount of whole grains, vegetables, fruits and dairy products reduces the risk of developing the disease.
In a 2012 analysis, scientists reported that of all cases of this disease, approximately 12% of colorectal cancer (1.5% of all types of the disease) were closely associated with an excess of red meat. It is important to note that about half of men and a quarter of women exceeded the recommendation of the Cancer Research Foundation at 500 grams of this product per week.
Also, experts have found that the overall high consumption of meat is associated with the risk of overall mortality from cardiovascular diseases. A WHO report concluded that the exclusion of red meat reduces the risk of developing colorectal cancer by 18%. However, it is very difficult to specify the exact amount of the hazard in grams for health. Meat is used in the context of the whole diet, and not isolated. It is impossible to derive the exact percentage of risk, since the level of sleep, stress and various phenomena are significantly different for each person.
Some of the factors affecting lifestyle, which also contribute to the development of cancer are regular smoking, high levels of BMI and excessive alcohol consumption. Scientists say that a large amount of fruits and vegetables is associated with a decrease in the development of cancer in general. It is impossible to determine the cause of this ailment, because studies studying communication are observational, not randomized and controlled. Since the risk of developing the disease varies according to a variety of factors and takes a lot of time to develop, specialists do not conduct randomized tests associated with a dangerous disease.
How to prevent risks
In 2017, scientists reported several mechanisms for the mutagenic effects of meat consumption that have been identified, but it is unclear what causes cancer in humans. The measure, which is safe and protects against cancer, is also unknown.
The interaction of iron with nitrates in the body
N-nitroso compounds (NOCs) are found in processed red meat. NOCs are formed in the body endogenously by nitrite and nitrate. When a person consumes this product, the iron contained in it acts as a catalyst for the formation of N-nitroso compounds.
They can potentially damage the intestinal lining and initiate cell regeneration - this can lead to DNA destruction over time. Unprocessed red meat has a less direct effect on intestinal damage, as chemicals in it accelerate the formation of NOCs.
What you can do about it: intestinal damage caused by NOCs can be reduced or eliminated if meat is consumed with green vegetables. This is due to the fact that vegetables contain chlorophyll and vitamin C, which prevent the formation of NOCs.
Other foods high in vitamin C should also reduce the damage, although it is best to simply limit or refrain from consuming red meat for a while — this is the best option.
High temperature chemicals in cooked meat
Heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are formed during high temperature or smoking (to a lesser extent this happens with white meat).
Such thermal compounds can damage the intestines and are considered possible carcinogenic substances.
Some researchers believe that high-heat pools cannot fully determine the relationship between colorectal cancer and meat products. In several papers, no significant associations were found between the consumption of white meat (poultry or fish) with colorectal or other types of cancer. Since compounds with a high heat content are also produced from cooking white meat, this confirms the idea that their presence cannot fully explain the dangerous carcinogenic properties of (processed) red meat.
However, there are other reasons why such products should be cooked at a lower temperature. Cooking meat with low heat will help reduce the weight of the final product and, thus, potentially prevent excessive insulin production and obesity.
What you can do about it: eating an animal with cruciferous vegetables (broccoli or Brussels sprouts) or pickling it in spices (especially Caribbean spices such as orange berries) for 20+ minutes before cooking is recommended - this can reduce the formation of HCA and PAH.
It is also allowed to cook it at a lower temperature.
Nevertheless, the researchers recommend not to neglect the advice of leading nutritionists and physicians and limit the above volume of meat consumption per week. This will save your health from possible unpleasant consequences and normalizes the functions of the whole organism.