Limiting red meat intake is one of the key messages in our cancer prevention education programs and we’ve talked about it before on CNiC. Red meat significantly increases risk of colon cancer and may also increase risk of lung, esophageal, stomach and pancreatic cancers.
But as with many of the things you can do to lower your cancer risk, eating less red meat isn’t just about cancer. Eating red meat also increases your risk of heart disease and diabetes. The good news is that making a simple switch can change that risk. Our colleagues at Harvard report today on the NY Times Well Blog that replacing just one serving a day of red meat with nuts, low fat dairy or whole grains can lower diabetes risk.
What does this add to our knowledge? We’ve known that red and processed meats increase risk and the Harvard data adds to that, but few studies have been able to examine the effect of behavior change. The Harvard study modeled the change to see what happened to risk. This means, regardless of what you’ve been doing to now, you can change what you’re doing and change your risk. So go nuts for nuts (or whole grains).