Diets Rich In Animal Products Increase Cancer Risk

December 30, 2013

2 Min Read
Diets Rich In Animal Products Increase Cancer Risk

SAN FRANCISCODiets rich in animal productsmeat, milk, fish and eggshave the strongest correlation with cancer incidence rates, along with smoking and alcohol consumption, according to a new study published in the journal Nutrients.

Researchers at the Sunlight, Nutrition and Health Research Center compared incidence rates for the various types of cancer for males and females from 157 countries (87 with high-quality data) with indices for various risk modifying factors.

Dietary supply data were obtained from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The research included data for various periods back to 1980, since the effects of dietary changes on peak cancer rates can lag up to 20 years. The animal products index includes meat, milk, fish and eggs. Researchers also considered the effects of smoking and alcohol consumption on cancer rates.

Lung cancer incidence rates were used as an index for the effects of smoking and air pollution; this index integrates the effect of all factors contributing to lung cancer and other cancers linked to lifetime smoking. Latitude was used as an index of solar ultraviolet-B irradiance and vitamin D production.

For the 87 countries with high-quality cancer data, the smoking and animal products indices explained more than half of the cancer incidence rates, with alcoholic beverage supply explaining a smaller amount. For males, the smoking index was twice as important as the animal product index, while for females, the animal product index was twice as important. These two factors explained 70% of the variation in all cancer between countries.

The types of cancer for which animal products had the strongest correlation include female breast, corpus uteri, kidney, ovarian, pancreatic, prostate, testicular, thyroid cancer and multiple myeloma. Animal products increase the risk of cancer likely due to increased production of insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I), which promotes growth of the body as well as tumors.

Alcoholic beverage supply was found significantly correlated with only one type of cancercolorectal cancer. Results also show added sweeteners were associated with incidence of brain (females), corpus uteri, pancreatic and prostate cancer.

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