Some recent research has suggested that people should be eating less beef and more chicken if they want to avoid cancer. This research project showed that people who ate chicken instead of beef reduced their risk of getting breast cancer significantly.
Eating too much red meat, such as beef burgers, has been linked to diabetes, heart disease, and colon cancer in the past. However, this new study looked specifically at the effect of eating red meat on women’s chances of being diagnosed with breast cancer. It showed that women who ate chicken instead of red meat reduced their risk by nearly 30%.
Eating Chicken Reduced Cancer Risk
Additionally, the women with the highest overall red meat consumption had a higher risk of getting cancer, and the women with the highest chicken and turkey consumption were 15% less likely to get cancer. The comprehensive study followed more than 40,000 women for nearly a decade while the researchers observed their eating habits. The results were published in the International Journal of Cancer.
One of the researchers, Dr. Dale Sandler, said that it is pretty clear now that red meat is a carcinogen that has a strong correlation with cancer. He said their study gives further evidence that red meat is linked to breast cancer and chicken consumption is associated with less risk. He also said the method of cooking made no difference in the women’s risk of being diagnosed.
Why Does Chicken Decrease the Risk?
The researchers think the difference between red meat and chicken is that the latter causes less DNA and cell damage. Dr. Giota Mitrou said that the findings of the study support that idea. He also said that this research filled a gap in cancer study. There has not been enough research into red meat’s connection to cancers other than colon and bowel cancer. He also stressed that the role of chicken consumption as a preventative measure for breast cancer needed more research before the research team could recommend it as a treatment.
Other scientists were more cautious about the study’s findings. Professor Paul Pharoah from Cambridge University said that the association between red meat and breast cancer is “weak” and that the association between chicken consumption and decreased risk is also not strong. He stressed that it is important to remember that an association or a correlation does not mean causation. So it may not be as simple as telling people to not eat red meat as a preventative measure.
Dr. Emma Derbyshire, who is on the Meat Advisory Panel, said that the design of this study is observational. Observational studies do not prove cause and effect relationships, so the study is limited in its scope. She said she thinks balance in any diet is key, and red meat can still be an important part of a balanced diet. It has quality protein and good micronutrients that can be important for women of all ages.