If you choose to eat red and processed meats, just how often do you bite into that bologna sandwich or hot dog? What type of pork and beef do you eat? Is it low fat? What brand?
These are the kinds of answers that studies need in order to better understand how processed meat increases the risk of cancer, says Amanda Cross, speaking at our research conference today.
Cross, a scientist at Imperial College London, noted that the research clearly shows even small amounts of processed meat — and high consumption of red meats — increase risk of colorectal cancer. A study by Cross also suggests that processed meat increases risk of lung cancer; while diets high in red meat risk increase risk for esophagus and liver cancers.
Historically, the questionnaires used in studies of dietary intake only asked a couple questions on how much red and/or processed meats people typically ate. Now the science needs more.
When it comes to processed meat, researchers are looking closely at nitrate and nitrite. These chemicals, added to many processed meats, lead to potential carcinogens known as N-nitroso compounds. For burgers and other red meats, grilling and broiling them well-done can form heterocylic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hyrdocarbons (PAHs), also potential carcinogens. Continue reading
Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables can lower risk of cancer, and it’s worth concerning yourself with how you cook them, says Elizabeth Jeffery, PhD, a scientist who spoke this morning at our annual research conference.
Her studies suggest that steaming your broccoli for three to four minutes until it turns a bright green will boost its cancer-fighting compounds.
Broccoli contains lots of compounds studied for their cancer-fighting abilities. One of the top contenders is sulforaphane. Sulforaphane isn’t found naturally in broccoli: it forms when other compounds in broccoli come together: glucosinolates and the enzyme myrosinase.
But microwave or boil your broccoli too much and it can destroy its myrosinase. Destroy that — sulforaphane can’t form. Continue reading
Diets high in red and processed meats are a cause of colorectal cancer. Period.
That finding from our 2007 expert report was only strengthened in the 2010 Continuous Update Project Report on Colorectal Cancer, which reviewed evidence published since the 2007 report.
At this writing, more studies continue to be added to the CUP database; in 2017, the CUP expert panel will review the collected evidence once again and issue updated Recommendations for Cancer Prevention.
The existence of a link between red and processed meat and colorectal cancer is no longer surprising. But now researchers are asking the next questions –1. What is it, exactly, in red and processed meat that’s responsible for the increased risk, and 2. Is there anything we can do about it?
Amanda J. Cross, PhD, of Imperial College London, UK, will be presenting evidence tomorrow at our 2013 AICR Research Conference on Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Cancer. Continue reading