These 2 Factors Increase Your Cancer Risk by 50%

By on January 3, 2014
A new study published in the journal Nutrients reveals the top two lifestyle factors that could cause cancer, and the first cause isn’t all that surprising: Smoking.

But it’s the second lifestyle factor that may anger some meat eaters.

Looking at global cancer rates in 2008 tracked by the World Health Organization, researchers found that those who ate a high amount of animal products, such as meat and eggs, were significantly more likely to develop cancer.

Even more importantly, this risk increased even more for women–by as much as 50 percent.

“Researchers generally agree that environmental factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption, poor diet, lack of physical activity, and low serum 25-hdyroxyvitamin D levels are important cancer risk factors,” say researchers of the study, whose work was published in the online version of Nutrients. “Consumption of animal products correlated with cancer incidence with a lag time of 15–25 years.”

Details of the Study

Gathering data on peak cancer rates and rise in certain lifestyle factors, such as smoking, eating meat, or drinking alcohol, researchers compared the two variables to see if these links correlated on a national scale.

A total of 157 countries and 21 types of cancer were included in the study.

After comparing the data, lead researchers say that smoking and eating high amounts of meat products correlated with a significantly higher risk factor of cancer in most of these countries–by as much as 50 percent of all cancer cases. But for women, the evidence was even stronger for meat products alone, doubling their risk of cancers such as breast and ovarian cancer.

“Types of cancer which correlated strongly with animal product consumption, tended to correlate weakly with latitude; this occurred for 11 cancers for the entire set of countries,” say researchers. “Regression results were somewhat different for the 87 high-quality country data set and the 157-country set. These results can provide guidance for prevention of cancer.”

Also, interestingly enough, cancers common in Western countries also rose in Japan, a country whose national diet has changed over the past 30 years due to Western influence. And all of it is correlated to a higher intake of meat products–for the Japanese, this means their meat consumption increased by 10 percent.

“This is an important study showing strong relationships between meaty diets and cancer risk,” says Dr. Neal Barnard, president of the Physicians Committee and faculty member of the George Washington School of Medicine. “There’s a clear-cut lesson there for national food policies.”

Obviously, the lesson here is clear: To lower your cancer risk, minimize your intake of meat products.

What You Should Do

To lower your intake of meat products, consider switching meat for meat substitutes, such as quinoa and seitan. Upping your vegetables and fruit intake can also help you eat fewer meat products naturally, while added a well-needed antioxidant boost.

Readers: How much meat do you eat everyday?

Study: Meat Consumption, Smoking Linked to High Cancer
Meat Products and Cigarettes Account for 50% of Cancer

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