Red meat has long been linked to clogged arteries and heart disease. But a recent study found that red meat, particularly well-done, grilled red meat, also associated with prostate cancer.
In the study, which was published in the journal of PLoS One, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, compared about 500 men who have been diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer and a cancer-free group of men who served as controls.
All participants filled out detailed questionnaires about their diet over the previous year, including the amount of meat they eaten and how it was prepared.
The research result shows that men who ate about two servings of beef burger or red meat per week were 2.3 times more likely to develop prostate cancer than men who did not ate those foods. High intake of fatty meat such as salami and liver are also associated with an increased risk of cancer.
On the other hand, poultry meat, pork, sausages, and low-fat hot dogs seemed to only have a little influence on cancer risk.
People who preferred to eat well-done, grilled burger had double the cancer risk, while those who ate them rarely had a 12 % increased risk. A similar pattern was seen on people who ate barbecued or well-done steak.
“This study not only connects the red meat with prostate cancer risk, but also look at the methods and degree of cooking. It helps contribute to our understanding of potential mechanisms in the formation of HCAs and PAHs,” said Lee Richstone, MD, a professor of surgery and prostate-cancer specialist at the Smith Institute of Urology, New Hyde Park, New York.
When meat is cooked and charred at high temperatures, occurred a reaction that causes the formation of two chemicals: heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). In animal studies, these chemicals have been proven to cause several types of cancers, including prostate cancer.
“This is an evidence for the notion that red meat, especially well-done, grilled red meat, contains carcinogens associated with prostate cancer,” said Ronald D Ennis, MD, director of radiation oncology at St. Luke’s – Roosevelt Hospital Center, in NYC, who was not involved in this study as reported by CNN.