Eating red meat and processed meat increases a postmenopausal woman's chance of breast cancer by more than 50 percent, according to a new study from the University of Leeds in England.
The team of researchers monitored 33,725 women with a mean age of 52 for seven years and found that those who ate two ounces of red meat a day had a 56 percent increased risk of developing the disease compared with those who ate none. Women who ate the most processed meat had a 64 percent greater risk.
In their study, published in the British Journal of Cancer, the researchers noted that the association between red meat intake and breast cancer may be due to a combination of factors, such as the fat content (high levels of saturated fat in red meat have been shown to increase cholesterol, which has been linked to increased risk of breast cancer) and preparation method (cooking meat at high temperatures may form carcinogenic compounds, according to some research).
Cynthia Sass, R.D., MPH, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, said the study's findings are in line with current dietary guidelines. "This is a large study that supports what we're already telling people to do—limit your red-meat intake and eat as few as possible processed meats," Sass said. "It's a good reminder for everyone to vary their diet, watch the quantity of what they consume, and tailor what they eat to match their specific needs."
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVIII/number 5/p.12