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, 84 (2), 308-13

Meat and Cancer


Meat and Cancer

Lynnette R Ferguson. Meat Sci.


An increasing literature associates high intake of meat, especially red meat and processed meat with an increased risk of cancers, especially colorectal cancer. There is evidence that this risk may not be a function of meat per se, but may reflect high-fat intake, and/or carcinogens generated through various cooking and processing methods. The cancer risk may be modulated by certain genotypes. Cancers associated with high meat consumption may be reduced by the addition of anticarcinogens in the diet, especially at the same time as meat preparation or meat consumption, or modification of food preparation methods. Meat contains potential anticarcinogens, including omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). Red meat, in particular, is an important source of micronutrients with anticancer properties, including selenium, vitamin B6 and B12, and vitamin D. Adjusting the balance between meat and other dietary components may be critical to protecting against potential cancer risks.

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