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Dietary Protein Sources In Early Adulthood And Breast Cancer Incidence: Prospective Cohort Study

Posted:  Monday, July 07, 2014

New studies found has found that higher red meat intake during early adulthood could well be one of these risk factors. Women who eat more of poultry, fish, nuts, legumes and less of red meat during early years have lower chances of having breast cancer risk.

The study found that a higher intake of red meat products during early adulthood was associated with a 22% increased risk of breast cancer.

Conversely, a higher intake of poultry during early adulthood was associated with a lower incidence of breast cancer in postmenopausal women.

The study involved 88,803 women and was completed over 20 years. It found eating high amounts of red meat increases risk by 22 per cent overall, and every extra daily serving carries a 13 per cent increased risk.

The women were asked about daily consumption of unprocessed red meat, such as beef, pork, lamb and hamburger, as well as processed red meat, such as hot dogs, bacon and sausage.

They were also asked how much poultry (including chicken and turkey), fish (including tuna, salmon, mackerel and sardines) and legumes (including beans, lentils, peas and nuts) they ate each day.

Over 20 years of follow-up, 2,830 women developed breast cancer, according to the study.

Replacing one portion of red meat a day with a portion of another high-protein food such as legumes, poultry, nuts and fish was associated with a 14% lower risk of breast cancer overall and premenopausal breast cancer.

Although intakes of legumes, eggs, nuts and fish were not significantly associated with breast cancer in either premenopausal and postmenopausal women, substituting legumes or poultry or the combination of poultry, fish, nuts and legumes for red meat was associated with low risk of breast cancer.

Replacing one portion of red meat a day with a portion of another high-protein food such as legumes, poultry, nuts and fish was associated with a 14% lower risk of breast cancer overall and premenopausal breast cancer.

Health experts believe that the saturated fat found in red meat boosts cholesterol levels and this in turn causes the body to produce more of the hormone estrogen which is associated with breast cancer.

The link could be because red meat contains more saturated fat, which can raise levels of cholesterol and hormones which can cause tumours.

When red meat is cooked at very high temperatures, such as with sausages and burgers on a barbecue, harmful chemicals are released.

Studies have previously linked consumption of red meat to some cancers. People who eat more red meat have been found to be generally unhealthier as they are more likely to be overweight, smoke and not exercise.

Of course, there are numerous other "lifestyle factors" that could have contributed to the outcome. Some scientists argue that women who eat less red meat tend to have more healthful lifestyles overall. People who eat more red meat have been found to be generally unhealthier: they are more likely to be overweight, smoke and not exercise.