Meat Consumption and Cancer – 5 Reasons Why They Are Interconnected
While an overall unhealthy diet plays a significant role in laying the ground for a host of diseases, it is the processed and red meat portion of it that has earned many accusations over the years for being a perpetrator of cancer, specifically. Read further to learn all about this chilling theory and decide for yourself if it is worth cutting out red meat from your diet.
Vegetarians around the world have repeatedly received much lower scores than their non-vegetarian counterparts when it comes to cancer susceptibility. Many studies have scientifically backed these findings by proving that vegetarians are 40% less vulnerable to developing certain forms of carcinomas. Numerous parameters lead to this heightened cancer risk amongst meat eaters. Let us look at each one of these in more detail:
- Meat Contains Absolutely No Fiber - Fiber usually acts as a buffer and protects the body from some of the carcinogenic elements present in food. It moves food swiftly through the colon, therefore, reducing the time spent by carcinogens within the digestive tract. In the case of meat, there is no such protection from toxins.
- Meat Generates Carcinogenic Compounds When Cooked- Heterocyclic Amines (HCA) and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) are some carcinogenic compounds that are released when meat is grilled or fried at high temperatures.
- Meat Boosts Hormone Production – As a result of the saturated fats present in meat, it tends to trigger an excessive generation of hormones, if consumed regularly. Such disproportionate production of hormones increases the risk of carcinomas like breast cancer and prostate cancer.
- Meat May Promote Tumor Formation – Growth factors that are responsible for accelerating cell division in the body are produced in higher quantities amongst meat-eaters. While this may be an excellent thing for growing children, in adults, such an abundance of growth hormones may lead to the creation of tumors.
- Meat Often Contains Artificial Colour And Flavor Enhancers That Are Carcinogenic- Both processed and unprocessed meat sold at many grocery stores often contain nitrates that are artificially added to improve the look, texture, and taste. These chemicals eventually create carcinogenic compounds that increase the risk of several forms of cancer.
The discovery of red meat’s carcinogenic link has shaken the world of meat-lovers everywhere. However, this does not necessarily mean that you need to give up all red meat right away. Eating it in moderation and the proper form is essential to avoid any cancer-causing effects. Steering clear of processed meats like ham, bacon, and sausages, selecting leaner cuts over those that contain too much fat, and consuming smaller portions a few times a week are all ways in which you can enjoy your meat safely.