SWAPPING beef burgers for chicken cuts breast cancer risk by more than a quarter, research suggests.
Consuming too much red meat has previously been linked to diabetes, heart disease and several cancers.
Eating red meat such as beef burgers can increase the risk of breast cancer, according to a study[/caption]
Now a U.S. study found women who switched to poultry from beef, lamb or pork were 28 per cent less likely to get breast tumours.
This group ate around 53g a day – around half a quarter pounder.
It also shows those who ate the most red meat overall, had a 23 per cent higher risk of the disease to those who rarely consumed it.
In contrast, the biggest scoffers of chicken and turkey saw their breast cancer chances plummet by 15 per cent.
The U.S. study followed more than 42,000 women over seven and a half years.
Researcher Dr Dale Sandler, from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, said: “Red meat has been identified as a probable carcinogen.
“Our study adds further evidence that red meat consumption may be associated with increased risk of breast cancer whereas poultry was associated with decreased risk.
‘BALANCE IS KEY’
“Our study does provide evidence that substituting poultry for red meat may be a simple change that can help reduce the incidence of breast cancer.”
The research, published in the International Journal of Cancer, found cooking method made no difference to women’s risk.
Experts think eating chicken may cause less cell and DNA damage, than consuming red meat.
Dr Giota Mitrou, Director of Research at World Cancer Research Fund, said: “This study adds to the evidence on red meat and cancer – as previous research, including our own, has found strong evidence that red meat increases the risk of bowel cancer, but to date there has not been enough evidence on red meat and breast cancer.
“The role of chicken as possibly protective against breast cancer needs further investigation.”
But other scientists were cautious about the findings.
Prof Paul Pharoah, Professor of Cancer Epidemiology at Cambridge University, said: “Weak associations were found between red meat consumption and an increased risk of breast cancer and between poultry consumption and a decreased risk of breast cancer.
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“As always it is important to remember that association – or correlation – does not imply causation.”
Dr Emma Derbyshire, from the Meat Advisory Panel, said: “This study is observational in design, meaning that ‘cause and effect’ relationships are difficult to determine.
“As with most things, balance is key. Red meat can be an important source of good quality protein and key micro-nutrients such as iron and zinc, particularly important for women of childbearing age.”
Research suggests switching to chicken burgers could cause less cell and DNA damage than red meat[/caption]
Calorie levy call
A CALORIE levy is needed to build on the success of the sugar tax, campaigners say.
The charge will push companies to make processed food more healthy, according to Action on Sugar and Action on Salt.
It will reinforce the soft drinks levy which has cut 90million kg of sugar from the UK’s diet since it came in in 2018, they believe.
Campaign director Katharine Jenner said: “Manufacturers are simply not doing enough.”
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