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Study Links Meat
Consumption with Cancer Risk

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - People who eat a meat-laden diet have more than triple the average risk of esophageal cancer and double the risk of stomach cancer, US researchers reported Thursday.

The report adds to several studies that link eating meat, especially ``red'' meat such as beef, with certain cancers. Colon cancer has been the cancer type most strongly linked with a high-meat diet.

The study of people living in Nebraska found that those who ate the most meat had 3.6 times the risk of esophageal cancer and double the risk of stomach cancer when compared with people eating what the researchers considered a healthy diet.

People who ate a lot of dairy products, who tended also to eat a lot of meat, had double the risk of both cancers, the researchers report in the January issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Mary Ward, Honglei Chen and colleagues at the National Cancer Institute, Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts and elsewhere surveyed 124 people with stomach cancer, 124 people with esophageal cancer and 449 people who did not have cancer.

They asked detailed questions about their eating habits, then characterized their diets as being ``healthy,'' ``high meat,'' ''high milk,'' high in salty snacks, heavy on desserts and heavy on white bread.

The so-called healthy diet had the highest amounts of fruits, vegetables and whole grains and generally matched the government recommendations that people eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables a day; up to 10 servings of grains, breads and pasta and just two to three small servings of meat.

The healthy eating group--21% of those surveyed--also generally ate the fewest calories.

``In contrast with this healthy dietary pattern, the high-meat dietary pattern included much higher intakes of meats and much lower intakes of fruits, bread and cereals,'' the researchers report.

They said 33% of stomach cancer patients and 35% of esophageal cancer patients ate either the high-meat or high-milk diets.

Reference Source 89


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