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Red Meat & Kidney Cancer

By on May 25, 2013
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People who eat lots of red meat may have a higher risk of some types of kidney cancer. Researchers found that middle-aged adults  who ate the most red meat were 19% more likely to be diagnosed with kidney cancer than those who ate the least. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition also says higher intake of chemicals found in grilled or barbecued meat was also linked to increased risk of the disease.

“Red meat is an important source for iron (and) it has protein,” said Dr. Mohammed El-Faramawi, an epidemiologist from the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth, who has studied diet and kidney cancer risks but wasn’t involved in the new study. “You should not stop eating red meat because there is an association between red meat and renal cancer,” he said. Instead, eating a limited amount of meat while following dietary recommendations is a good idea, he said.

U.S. guidelines call for limiting high-fat foods including processed meat, and instead eating more lean meat and poultry, seafood and nuts. On average, men in the study ate two or three ounces of red meat per day, compared to one or two ounces among women. Participants with the highest consumption of red meat — about four ounces per day — were 19 percent more likely to be diagnosed with kidney cancer than those who ate the smallest amount, less than one ounce per day.

People who ate the most well-done grilled and barbecued meat — and therefore had the highest exposure to carcinogenic chemicals that come out of the cooking process — also had an extra risk of kidney cancer compared to those who didn’t cook much meat that way.

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