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Red Meat & Dairy Linked to Cancer

Red Meat & Dairy Linked to Cancer

The news is out. What many of us have assumed for years got a new batch of science to back it up: red meat and dairy products have been associated with an increased risk of cancer, specifically, pancreatic cancer. In a recent study published in the internationally acclaimed Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers examined the association between the intake of red meat and dairy products and pancreatic cancer by analyzing a cohort of over 500,000 people from the National Institutes of Health–AARP Diet and Health Study. Participants completed a food frequency questionnaire in 1995 and 1996 and were followed prospectively for an average of 6 years to track a variety of health outcomes, including pancreatic cancer.

Men and women who consumed high amounts of total fats had 53 percent and 23 percent higher relative rates of pancreatic cancer, respectively, compared with men and women who had the lowest fat consumption. Participants who consumed high amounts of saturated fats had 36 percent higher relative rates of pancreatic cancer compared with those who consumed low amounts.

“We observed positive associations between pancreatic cancer and intakes of total, saturated, and monounsaturated fat overall, particularly from red meat and dairy food sources. We did not observe any consistent association with polyunsaturated or fat from plant food sources,” the authors write. “Altogether, these results suggest a role for animal fat in pancreatic carcinogenesis.”

In an accompanying editorial, Brian M. Wolpin, M.D., MPH, of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston and Meir J. Stampfer, M.D., DrPH, of the Harvard School of Public Health, call the study well-performed and a good addition to the understanding of pancreatic cancer. They do note, however, that there is insufficient epidemiological and laboratory evidence to confirm the importance of animal fats or even that meat is the important factor, as opposed to other dietary or lifestyle preferences associated with meat consumption.

Read more: Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, General Health, Health

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.

62 comments

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9:29PM PST on Feb 15, 2012

So now maybe they can study the raw milk vs. pasteurized and let us know what they find?

10:17AM PST on Feb 5, 2012

People will believe whichever studies suit their beliefs. I say, when the fast-food advertiser at right here (today) asks if you want to "super-size that" or "add bacon," say "No, thanks." If you must eat meat (as I confess I do), eat little, eat sparingly, eat the most ethical, most "natural," and least processed possible. Adding even a crummy iceberg side salad to your meal is better than adding bacon. Eating lots of fruits and veggies, especially berries and cruciferous veggies, will help combat any damage done by eating cooked meats.

5:27PM PST on Feb 2, 2012

ty

8:31AM PST on Jan 16, 2012

This isn't "new news" It has been known for years that people who eat meat have a much higher rate of cancer that vegans and vegetarians.

7:13AM PST on Jan 16, 2012

Finally, scientific proof! A lot of us have thought this for a while; but now there's proof. Hurray!
Thanks

7:11AM PST on Jan 16, 2012

Great info, thanks!

8:19AM PST on Jan 14, 2012

I am convinced that dairy foods play a large part in breast cancer.

11:03PM PST on Jan 13, 2012

"The news is out"? Actually, this is the same rhetoric that has been "out there", especially in Care.2 for as long as there have been articles IN Care.2 written by die-hard vegan writers.

Karen, meat and dairy do not "cause" cancer, anymore than eating corn does, drinking water, or breathing air. It's the bad stuff IN some of those things that might be contributary, carcinogenic factors. Breathing air which is clean, out in the country, in the mountains might never contribute to a single case, but then those same individuals move to within a mile of a coal refining center, and guess what? Drink water from a mountain stream, and then start drinking from a city reservoir or a well downstream from a copper mine. Eat meat or eggs from a small, family farm and live a long, healthy life............eat Armour Hotdogs and hamburger from animals in factory farms and far different risks.

4:34PM PST on Jan 13, 2012

"Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food." Hippocrates
we must light up the darkness for knowledge is not power its empowering lets all be empowered to change. life has value beyond measure
Peace and Love

4:24PM PST on Jan 6, 2012

Cool beans

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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