The objective was to examine relationships between meat and other food items which have been associated with higher risk of cancer in the colon and prostate in some epidemiological studies. The study was conducted as a population-based cohort study comprising 11648 subjects (4816 male and 6742 female) born between 1926 and 1945 and living in the city of Malmö, Sweden. Data on mean daily intake of foods and nutrients were assessed with a diet history method combining a 7-day menu book and a food frequency questionnaire. Increasing meat intake, expressed in quintiles and adjusted for energy, was associated with decreasing intakes of poultry, fish, fruits, bread, cereals and cheese in both sexes. Low negative correlations between meat intake and ascorbic acid (r= -0.11) and fiber (r= -0.16 to -0.20) were noted. The average intake of fat from meat out of total fat intake was 13.6% in men and 11.9% in women. No major associations were noted between meat and the cholesterol raising fatty acids C:12:0, C:14:0, C:160 nor for C:20:4 or its precursor C:18:2. In conclusion, our findings indicate that meat consumption is negatively associated with food groups rich in antioxidants and fiber and the positive covariance reported between meat and cancer and coronary heart disease might, therefore, not be directly linked to components in meat.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.