3 Mechanisms That Connect Meat Consumption to Cancer That No One Is Talking About

3 Mechanisms That Connect Meat Consumption And Cancer That No One Is Talking About

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Quite a few studies have provided evidence of red meat potentially causing cancer. Although the results vary, studies from around the world have clearly suggested that a high consumption of meat is directly linked to an increased risk of two specific cancers, namely colorectal and breast cancer.

  • Colorectal cancer: Every year the number of new cases of colon and rectal cancer was 42.4 per 100,000 men and women. The number of deaths was 15.5 per 100,000 men and women per year. Approximately 6 percent of all men and women will be diagnosed with colon and rectum cancer at some point during their lifetime and if one of your first-degree relatives had colon cancer or polyps after age 50, your chance of getting colon cancer doubles and almost triples if cancer or polyps were diagnosed at a younger age or if more members of your family members were/are affected.
  • Breast cancer: In 2015, an estimated 231,840 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 60,290 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer. About 12% of U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. For women in the U.S., breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, besides lung cancer. A woman’s risk of breast cancer doubles if she has a first-degree relative who has been diagnosed with breast cancer.

The best way to lower your chances of suffering from these two cancers is by making some lifestyle changes including smoking cessation, becoming more physically active and another significant influence on your risk of getting these cancers involves dietary habits:

Evidence from these studies below shows the clear connection between dietary habits, namely meat consumption, and these two types of cancer.

Two large 2005 studies show this clear link (one study from Europe (1), the other from the United States). The European research group tracked 478,000 men and women who were free of cancer when the study began. The people who ate the most red meat (about 5 ounces a day or more = 1000 grams per week) were about a third more likely to develop colon cancer than those who ate the least red meat (less than an ounce a day on average = less than 200 grams per week). Their consumption of chicken did not influence risk one way or the other, but a high consumption of fish appeared to reduce the risk of colon cancer by about a third.

The United States study added valuable information about the effects of long-term meat consumption. 148,610 people between the ages of fifty and seventy-four showed that a high consumption of red and processed meats substantially increased the risk of colorectal cancer.

A meta-analysis research project involving twenty-nine studies of meat consumption and colon cancer concluded that a high consumption of red meat increases the risk of colon cancer by 28%, and a high consumption of processed meat increases the risk by 20%. (3)

My research study of the ultimate diet for human consumption titled: “The Guerrilla Diet”  (4)  shows that humans are not made to consume meat in large quantities.

But by what mechanisms does meat have the ability to cause cancer in humans? Here are three mechanisms by which meat increases the risk of suffering from cancer:

  1. Scientists from England offer an explanation. They recruited healthy volunteers who were placed on one of three diets for a period of fifteen to twenty-one days. The first diet contained about 14 ounces (400 grams) of red meat a day. The second diet was strictly vegetarian, and the third diet contained large amounts of both red meat and dietary fiber. The researchers found high levels of N-nitroso compounds (NOCs), which are carcinogens (potential cancer-causing chemicals), in the stool specimens of twenty-one volunteers who consumed the high-meat diet. The twelve volunteers who ate vegetarian food excreted low levels of NOCs, and the thirteen who ate meat and high-fiber diets produced intermediate amounts.

The researchers then retrieved cells from the lining of the colon shed into the stool. The cells from people eating the high-meat diet contained a large number of cells that had NOC-induced DNA damage; the stools of vegetarians had the lowest number of cells with damaged genetic material, and the people who ate high-meat, high-fiber diets produced intermediate numbers of damaged cells. (5)

N-nitroso compounds produced by meat-rich diets lead to genetic damage of cells, which causes unhealthy cancerous cells to appear in greater quantities than the body has the ability to control.

  1. Furthermore, hormones now being added to red meat boost breast cancer risk according to a large study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Red meat intake and breast cancer risk were assessed among premenopausal women aged twenty-six to forty-six years in the Nurse’s Health Study II. During twelve years of follow-up of over 90,000 premenopausal women, they found that the greater the red meat intake, the higher the risk of breast cancers that were estrogen and progesterone receptor positive. In comparison, those eating three or fewer servings per week of red meat were much less at risk. Women who ate more than 1.5 daily servings of red meat, including beef, pork, and lamb, were nearly twice as likely to be at risk than women who ate three or fewer servings per week. Researchers believe the hormones or hormone-like compounds in red meat increase cancer risk by attaching to specific hormone receptors on certain tumors. They conclude that a higher red meat intake may be a risk factor for breast cancer among premenopausal women. (6)
  1. Dr.’s Farvid, Takemi, fellow and associate professor in the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, in her research to investigate the association between dietary protein sources in early adulthood and risk of breast cancer in an analysis of nearly 88,800 women, concluded that heavy consumption of red meat was strongly associated with a relative risk for breast cancer (22% higher than that seen among women at the lowest end of the meat-eating spectrum). Dr. Takemi’s study reveals that it is also the cooking of the meat that increases the risk of suffering from breast cancer. Dr. Takemi says that: “Carcinogenic by-products such as heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, created during high temperatures cooking of meat; as well as animal fat and heme iron from red meat; and hormone residues of the externally provided growth hormones given to cattle are some of the mechanisms that may explain the positive association between high intake of red meat and risk of breast cancer.” (7) By substituting one serving a day of legumes for one serving a day of red meat, there was a 15% lower risk of breast cancer among all women and a 19% lower risk among premenopausal women. (7)

It is good to have regular screening done for both types of cancer after the age of 45, however, If one or more first degree relative has had a precancerous polyp, colon, rectal or breast cancer, the general guideline is to begin screening at the age 40 because the earlier cancer is detected, the better the chance a person has of survival.

Check out my article on the 15 foods that help prevent colon cancer and obesity HERE

Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you are serious about improving your health no matter what your age or circumstance are, and are ready to achieve better results with your weight loss attempts, guaranteed, then join my mailing list where you will receive my weekly newsletter with groundbreaking health, motivational content, recipes, supplement recommendations, easy workouts, as well as many FREE bonuses and special offers. Click HERE to subscribe. Or visit the Guerrilla Diet Website for my health advice, offers, programs and free information HERE.


  1. T Norat et al. Meat, fish, and colorectal cancer risk: the European prospective investigation into cancer and nutrition. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 2005 97: 906-916
  2. Chao A, Thun MJ, Connell CJ, McCullough ML, Jacobs EJ, Flanders WD, Rodriguez C, Sinha R, Calle EE. Meat consumption and risk of colorectal cancer. JAMA. 2005; 12;293(2):172-82.
  3. Alexander DD, Weed DL, Cushing CA, Lowe KA. Meta-analysis of prospective studies of red meat consumption and colorectal cancer. Eur J Cancer Prev. 2011 Jul;20(4)293-307. doi: 10.1097/CEJ 0b013e328345f985.
  4. The Guerrilla Diet & Lifestyle Program by Galit Goldfarb
  5. Red meat and colon cancer, The Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide (2008)
  6. Cho E, Chen WY, Hunter DJ, et al. Red Meat Intake and Risk of Breast Cancer Among Premenopausal Women. Arch Intern Med; 2006;166(20):2253-2259. doi:10.1001/archinte.166.20.2253.
  7. Farvid Maryam S, Cho Eunyoung, Chen Wendy Y, Eliassen A Heather, Willett Walter C. Dietary protein sources in early adulthood and breast cancer incidence: prospective cohort study BMJ; 2014; 348, 3437

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