NEW HYDE PARK, NY – The sugars in red meat, if consumed constantly, can produce inflammation in the body and increase someone’s risk of getting cancer, but people shouldn’t necessarily completely eliminate red meat from their lives, a New York registered dietitian says.
“Regular red meat consumption can increase someone’s risk for cancer; in particular, colon cancer,” says Hillary Sachs, RD, oncology nutritionist at the North Shore-LIJ Cancer Institute. “It’s not so much the red meat that is an issue, but the body’s reaction to it. The study showed that we produce antibodies when we eat red meat and consuming red meat regularly could send the body’s immune system into overdrive and produce inflammation.”
Ms. Sachs encourages people to consider red meat as more like a side dish than a main course and to think about getting iron from other sources, such as spinach, almonds, peanuts, black beans and chickpeas. Some other foods that can cause inflammation include processed grains such as white rice and white bread; and processed meats such as hot dogs and sausages. Grass-fed red meat is thought to cause less inflammation than corn-fed meat.
The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, involves mice rather than humans and the amount of red meat given to the mice is not very realistic for people’s diets, Ms. Sachs says. These are two things people should keep in mind about the study, she notes.