red meat cancer


In late 2015, the World Health Organisation released a statement suggesting that red meat was now classed as a carcinogen. They would then go even further and state that eating processed red meat “probably causes cancer”. This announcement was concerning for many people, and I think it answers the central question of this article.

However, I want to help you understand why exactly red meat increases your chances of getting cancer and examine their cause-and-effect relationship. Furthermore, I will provide a few alternatives to red meat to decrease your risk of developing cancer!

A human can be healthy without killing animals for food.
Leo Tolstoy

red meat carcinogen

As is the case with anything, moderation is key. Excessive consumption or use of one thing is bound to be problematic. This is especially true for those who eat red meat consistently. A variety of academic studies have highlighted that red meat consumption can act as a driving factor behind many health problems. This post addresses what some of these health issues are, paying particular attention to the increased risk of heart disease and cancer that red meat can cause.

Health experts have spent a long time debating the long term and short-term risks associated with red meat consumption. Whilst some studies have yielded mildly positive results, for the most part, studies have evidenced mainly negative connotations. Recent studies taken by Harvard Medical School and the British Medical Journal have correlated high intakes of red meat with increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular diseases.

One study done by the Harvard Medical School spanned 25-years and looked to prove the long-term effects of increased red meat consumption. 90,000 men and women who were deemed perfectly healthy were studied and told to fill out food frequency forms every few months. Over this time, about 25,000 people died, 6,000 from cardiovascular issues and 9,500 from cancer. Now people die all the time, but those who were seen to have more red meat in their diets tended to have a higher mortality rate.

One serving per day of red meat equated to a 13% greater risk of dying from cancer or cardiovascular disease. With two servings a day bumping that figure up to 20%. While this is only one study, it offers an extensive collection of participants. It provides us with sufficient long-term data that suggests red meat does not positively impact one’s health.