1997 the World Cancer Research Fund and the American
Institute for Cancer Research released the most
comprehensive report of its kind into the link
between diet and cancer. The report involved distinguished
researchers from the United States, Britain, Japan,
China, India and Latin America, who reviewed over
4,500 studies to come up with their detailed analysis,
which was titled Food, Nutrition and the Prevention
of Cancer: a Global Perspective.
report found that: "Diets which contain substantial
amounts of red meat and meat products probably
increase the risk of cancers of the breast, colon,
rectum, and possibly increase the risk of cancers
of the pancreas, prostate and kidney."
expert panel who prepared the report went on to
recommend that if red meat is eaten at all, it
should be limited to no more than three ounces
per dayabout the size of a deck of cards.
Instead, it suggested eating fish and poultry.
advice was backed up by scientists from Harvard
School of Public Health, who have been conducting
an ongoing study involving more than 80,000 women
since 1980. They found that women who had beef,
lamb or pork as a daily main dish had two and
a half times the risk of developing colon cancer
as those who ate the meats less than once a month.
another study, a group of researchers led by Dr.
James Herbert from the University of Massachusetts
Medical School reviewed a survey of prostate cancer
deaths in 59 countries. They found what a number
of studies have found, that prostate cancer deaths
are much lower in countries where red meat is
eaten rarely. The researchers noted that the lowest
death rates from prostate cancer are in countries
such as Japan, where people traditionally eat
a great deal of fish and very little red meat.
"Animal energy was positively associated
with prostate cancer mortality," commented
Dr. Herbert, "on the other hand, intakes
of cereals, soybeans, other nuts and oilseeds
and fish were negatively associated with prostate
meat and its accompanying saturated
fat can certainly be bad your health,
but it's also important to remember
that red meat only becomes a health
hazard when you eat too much of it.
Learning from the traditions of Asia
and the Mediterranean, it would seem
that the key words are moderation not
elimination. A steak, some bacon, or
a hamburger once in a while won't do
you any harm. It's only when you start
eating too much of these types of food,
which is easy to do in our "meat
loving" culture, that the problems
can start arising. So aim to include
red meat in your diet no more than 1-2
times a week.
thought of cutting back on red meat
usually leads to the inevitable question:
"where am I going to get my protein?"
Our answer: from fish, shellfish, legumes
(beans, peas and lentils), poultry and
nuts. This is where Mediterranean and
Asian cultures have gotten their protein
from for the last few thousand years.
Like red meat, these foods are packed
with protein, but unlike red meat, which
is typically loaded with saturated fat,
these foods contain mostly heart-healthy
unsaturated fats. (click
here to learn more about saturated
and unsaturated fats).
you eat red meat follow the Mediterranean
and Asian tradition of using it in small
amounts mixed with vegetables and grains,
primarily as a flavor enhancer.
you do eat red meat opt mostly for
lean cuts such as sirloin and eye
of round, and remove any visible fat
dining out at a restaurant choose
seafood, poultry, legume and vegetable
dishes over red meat dishes (or have
a small meat dish as an appetizer
instead of the main course).
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