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Friday, October 30, 2015

Eating Meat Causes Cancer -- True or False?

Eating Meat Causes Cancer -- True or False?
Is it just a myth, or is there some truth to the statement that eating meat causes cancer? Do you have to become a vegetarian to be safe? According to The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the World Health Organization (WHO), the answer is no. Well, kind of.

The truth about meat and cancer

Meat can actually be good for you. It is a source of protein, vitamins and minerals. But there are some right and wrong ways to eat meat. Here are the true and false factors about meat.

  • "Eating too much meat can cause cancer." TRUE: The IARC did find a connection between red meat and cancer. For each three-ounce portion of red meat eaten daily, the risk of colorectal cancer and even pancreatic and prostate cancer increases by 17 percent.
  • "Meat is meat." FALSE: There is a difference between processed and unprocessed meat. Processed meat like bacon, sausage and hot dogs is just as dangerous as tobacco use when it comes to causing cancer.
  • "You should give up meat altogether." FALSE. This is not necessary. The key to eating meat is moderation. It's OK to have a good steak or burger on occasion. The IARC recommends twice a week.
  • "So, when I eat meat, I can have anything I want." FALSE. When you eat meat, be sure to choose lean meat, not fatty meat. The fat has more saturated fat and cholesterol. Also, it matters how you cook it. Cooking meat at high temperatures can create charring which leads to the formation of carcinogenic chemicals. These are the chemicals that can lead to cancer.

So, you don't have to swear off all meat in order to be safe. As in most food choices, education and moderation is the key to staying safe and healthy.

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