Williams Cancer Institute


The consumption of red meat is not recommended for cancer patients since after many investigations it has been possible to detect an increase in cancer in people who have a high consumption of red meat, either beef, lamb, or pork. Thus, it is recommended not to consume these meats more than 500 mg per week.

The link between red meat and cancer may lie in a molecule called Neu5Gc that is not found naturally in humans and has pro-inflammatory effects. Likewise, it has been discovered that the way in which the meat is also cooked influences, for example when the meat is cooked on the grill when the fat comes into contact with the fire, a series of compounds are formed that we ingest with the meat. According to the aforementioned, it can contribute to the development of some types of cancer, so it is suggested that the healthiest option would be to cook this type of meat in stews or grills over medium heat.

Moreover, processed meat is even more harmful to health since this meat contains a series of components for its preservation, especially nitrates. Also, processed meat can lead to the formation of N-nitrous compounds, especially nitrosamines. In addition, meat provides elements (heme iron, proteins, myoglobin) that, due to the joint action of the acidic environment of the stomach and the bacteria of the digestive tract, GI tract, can form nitrosamines and nitrosamides, through a process known as endogenous nitrosation. Several nitrosamines and nitrosamides are recognized as potent carcinogens.

We must try not to consume red meat regularly and eat a diet based on white meat such as fish and chicken to minimize the risk of contracting cancer and make the treatment even more effective and further improve health.

Reference: Agudo, A, 2019, 30th January, Consumo de carne y riesgo de cáncer, Mejor Sin 

Cáncer, https://mejorsincancer.org/2015/11/05/consumo-de-carne-y-riesgo-de-cancer/

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