Is Red Meat “The Enemy”? AICR’s Take

raw meat on wooden plateContext.

It’s what every examination of the science of diet and health requires. For too long, authorities have demonized specific foods in an attempt to explain poor health outcomes, or anointed the latest “superfood” a panacea against disease.

That’s more or less the gist of a new article in the New York Times, “Red Meat is Not The Enemy.” The author suggests that experts historically “cherry-pick” data from individual studies to single out one nutrient or food in an attempt to determine its role in human health.

The Totality of Evidence

We agree that this can be a problem, and a misleading one. And that’s precisely why, at the American Institute for Cancer Research, when we perform our ongoing analyses of the global evidence on the connections between cancer risk and lifestyle (read: diet, weight, physical activity), we do so using systematic literature reviews and meta-analyses. (We call it the Continuous Update Project, or CUP.) Continue reading


Three drinks a day can cause liver cancer, new report finds

An analysis of worldwide research on diet, weight, physical activity and liver cancer has found strong evidence that consuming approximately three or more alcoholic drinks a day causes liver cancer. Published today, the finding provides the clearest indication so far of how many drinks actually cause liver cancer.r-uauy

As a member of the independent panel of scientists that reviewed the worldwide research, this is a significant finding that I hope will help reduce the global number of cases of liver cancer. Currently, it’s the second most common cause of death from cancer worldwide, accounting for 746,000 deaths globally in 2012.

How alcohol causes liver cancer

Excessive alcohol consumption over a period of time can cause damage to the liver and lead to cirrhosis (scarring and hardening of the liver), which is known to increase the risk of this cancer. We know that 90-95% of liver cancer cases have underlying cirrhosis. Alcohol consumption is also carcinogenic to humans, has tumor-promoting effects, and is associated with increased body fat. The latter is a concern because obesity is a risk factor for accumulation of fat in the liver, which may lead to cirrhosis and also increase liver cancer risk. Continue reading


Study: Eating Vegetarian (+Fish) Lowers Colorectal Cancer Risk

A new study that adds to the evidence on diet and colorectal cancer suggests that vegetarians have a lower risk of this cancer than non-vegetarians, with fish-eaters — pescovegetarians — showing the lowest risk of the non-meat eating groups. Delicious  portion of fresh salmon fillet  with aromatic herbs,

The study was published yesterday in JAMA Internal Medicine and it will be a part of AICR/WCRF’s ongoing collection of the worldwide research. The latest AICR/WCRF report on colorectal cancer concluded that diets high in red meat increase the risk of colorectal cancer.

The study collected the eating and other lifestyle habits of almost 78,000 Seventh-Day Adventists, a group that traditionally advocates vegetarian and healthy eating. Researchers categorized the group into those who ate meat regularly and four vegetarian patterns: 1) ate fish regularly; 2) ate milk and eggs regularly 3) ate small amounts of meats and fish; and 4) ate no meats, dairy or any animal food (vegans).

Overall, vegetarians had lower BMI, ate less fat, red meat, and processed meat, and ate more fiber.

Slightly more than half the study population was categorized as vegetarians. Over 7 years, there were 490 cases of colorectal cancer. Continue reading