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Better dead than no red?

Having just made a case for continuing to enjoy one's favorite foods as part of a successful weight-loss program, we should point out that if the foods we enjoy most may themselves be hazardous to our health, then it's time to develop some new tastes.

Americans consume more meat per capita than the vast majority of the rest of the world, and because we produce some of the world's tastiest meat, some may prefer death to giving up red meat. The latest caveat in the New England Journal of Medicine does deserve some consideration, however. It reports a study involving more than 88,000 nurses who completed detailed dietary questionnaires in 1980 and were then followed for the next six years to determine who had developed colon cancer.

The study found that those who consumed more animal fat (i.e., who ate more beef, pork, or lamb) were more likely to develop colon cancer. The risk was twice as high among those with the highest red meat intake than among those with the lowest. Furthermore, those who ate it every day were two-and-a-half times as likely to develop colon cancer than those who ate none.

Admittedly, changing one's lifelong eating habits is difficult, but moderation in all things is a desirable virtue, and if just cutting back on some of our favorite foods can prolong life, why not go for it? You may not go so far as to become a vegetarian--whatever the evidence in favor of that lifestyle--but why not go for something in-between, such as substituting more fish and poultry for red meat?
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Title Annotation:consumption of animal fat increases risk of colon cancer
Publication:Medical Update
Date:Apr 1, 1991
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