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The Verdict is IN: Meat is OUT! - from The Cancer Project

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Diet and Cancer in the News

The Verdict is IN: Meat is OUT!

Avoiding red and processed meats while increasing plant-based fiber-rich foods can reduce 64,000 cases of colorectal cancer per year, according to a new report by the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research (WCRF/AICR). Last month, WCRF/AICR released the most comprehensive report ever conducted on diet and colorectal cancer risk. The report’s findings are consistent with research published by WCRF/AICR in 2007, which showed convincing evidence that red and processed meat increased colorectal cancer risk, but this report concludes that fiber (once thought of as ‘probably’ decreasing risk) is now ‘convincingly’ associated with a decrease in colorectal cancer risk. The report found that processed meats—this includes bacon, hot dogs, and deli meats—have double the risk in comparison to red meat, and eating too much red and processed meat can be detrimental to gastrointestinal health. Another new study found that men consuming an Atkins-type diet (high protein, high fat, low carbohydrate) had a significant decrease in cancer protective agents and an increased concentration of dangerous cancer causing metabolites, compared to those following a more balanced diet. Researchers concluded that following a high-protein low-carb diet long-term can lead to increased colorectal disease risk.

Currently, the recommendations from WCRF/AICR are to avoid processed meats and limit red meat to less than 18 ounces (4-5 small servings) per week. Note that one 4-ounce serving of red meat is roughly the size of a deck of playing cards. Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the world. There is conclusive, convincing evidence that certain foods significantly increase the risk of developing this deadly disease, therefore we must do all we can to make the public aware of the connection. Building a diet around the new four food groups (legumes, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits) will assure plenty of fiber is consumed, greatly reducing colorectal cancer risk.

World Cancer Research Fund / American Institute for Cancer Research. Continuous Update Project Interim Report Summary. Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Colorectal Cancer. 2011.

Russell WR, Gratz SW, Duncan SH, et al. High-protein, reduced-carbohydrate weight-loss diets promote metabolite profiles likely to be detrimental to colonic health. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011;93(5):1062-1072.

Note: Red Meat = The term ‘red meat’ refers to beef, pork, lamb, and goat from domesticated animals.

Note: Processed Meat = The term ‘processed meat’ refers to meats preserved by smoking, curing, or salting, or addition of chemical preservatives.

cited from a newsletter from the Cancer Project

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