Ladies, trying to choose between chicken or steak? New research published in the International Journal of Cancer might help you decide. According to the study, red meat consumption may be responsible for raising your risk of breast cancer; eating poultry, on the other hand, could protect you against breast cancer. Is your decision clearer now?
The study was a long-term analysis following 42,012 women for an average of 7.6 years during which time they reported their consumption of different types of meat and meat cooking practices. The study was careful to control for known breast cancer risk factors or potential confounding factors like race, socioeconomic status, obesity, physical activity, alcohol consumption, as well as other dietary factors.
While the study did not conclude any associations for cooking practices or chemicals formed when cooking meat at high temperature, it did observe some significant associations between meat consumption and the risk of breast cancer.
Within the years of follow-up, 1,536 women received a diagnosis of invasive breast cancer. The study showed that a red meat-heavy diet was associated with an increased risk of invasive breast cancer, as the biggest red-meat eaters had a 23% higher risk compared to the lowest red-meat eaters.
"Red meat has been identified as a probable carcinogen. Our study adds further evidence that red meat consumption may be associated with increased risk of breast cancer whereas poultry was associated with decreased risk," said senior author Dale P. Sandler, PhD, of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
Indeed, the study also concluded an association between poultry-eaters and a decreased risk of invasive breast cancer. Women with a heavy-poultry diet had a 15% lower risk than those with a low-poultry diet, the study explains.
The authors hope their findings will provide suggestions on how to best tailor your diet for breast cancer prevention. "While the mechanism through which poultry consumption decreases breast cancer risk is not clear, our study does provide evidence that substituting poultry for red meat may be a simple change that can help reduce the incidence of breast cancer," adds Sandler.