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Research Links Eating Less Meat to Lower Risk of Developing Cancer

New research shows people who eat less meat have a significantly reduced risk of developing cancer.
The study conducted by the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom had sought to find out the effects of varying meat consumption levels on the chance of developing cancer.
The research also investigated the effects of meat-eating on postmenopausal, prostate cancer, breast cancer and colorectal cancer, the common forms of the disease.
According to the results of the research published by MedicalNewsToday, pescatarians, vegetarians and people who take little meat are less likely to develop cancer.
“Our findings add further evidence that following a vegetarian, pescatarian, or low meat-eating diet may be associated with a lower risk of being diagnosed with cancer. These findings also suggest that cancer risk for different diet groups may be different by cancer types,” said the study’s lead author is Cody Watling.
The research involved 472,377 people over an average period of 11.4 years. The participants, who were aged 40-70 years, were recruited between 2006 and 2010.
At that time, none of them had a cancer diagnosis and over the study period, they reported their meat intake to the researchers.
The participants were divided into four groups; meat-eaters, low meat eaters, fish eaters and vegetarians.
Meat-eaters, consisting of 247,571 individuals, consumed processed meat, poultry and red meat more than five times a week.
Low meat-eaters, 205,385 participants, ate the same foods but a maximum of five times each week.
Fish eaters, 10,696 individuals, exclusively ate fish and not meat.
Vegetarians and vegans, 8,685 participants, neither ate meat nor fish.
At the end of the study course, 54,961 people had developed different types of cancer. Of them, 5,882 had colorectal cancer, 9,501 had prostate cancer and 7,537 had breast cancer.
According to the findings, the vegetarian and vegan group was 14% less likely to develop cancer compared to the other three groups.
The fish eaters were 10% less likely to get cancer while low meat eaters reduced their risk by 2%.

Low meat eaters had a 9% lower risk of developing colorectal cancer. PHOTO | COURTESY

In specific cancer types, vegetarian women had an 18% lower risk of developing breast cancer. Vegetarian men had a 31% lower risk of developing prostate cancer. Pescatarian men were 20% less likely to develop prostate cancer.
Low meat eaters had a 9% lower risk of developing colorectal cancer.
From the findings, the researchers recommended that people should limit the intake of processed and red meat.
Instead, the investigators urged people to consume a diet rich in grains, fruits, vegetables and beans.

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