Higher red meat intake in early adulthood might be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, according to research in the British medical journal bmj.com.
Until now studies have suggested no significant association between red meat intake and breast cancer.
However, most have been based on diet during midlife and later and many lines of evidence suggest that some exposures may have greater effects on the development of breast cancer during early adulthood.
A team of US researchers investigated the association between dietary protein sources in early Adulthood and risk of breast cancer.
They analysed data from 88,803 women aged 26 to 45 taking part in the Nurses’ Health Study II who completed a questionnaire on diet in 1991.
Medical records identified 2,830 cases of breast cancer during 20 years of follow-up.
The researchers estimated that for each step-by-step increase in the women’s consumption of red meat there was a step-by-step increase in the risk of getting breast cancer over the 20 year study period.
The statistical model estimated that higher intake of red meat was associated with a 22% increase risk of breast cancer overall.
Each additional serving per day of red meat was associated with a 13% increase in risk of breast cancer.
In contrast, estimates showed a lower risk of breast cancer in women with higher consumption of poultry.
In the statistical model, substituting one serving per day of poultry for one serving per day of red meat was associated with a 17% lower risk of breast cancer overall.
And substituting one serving per day of combined legumes, nuts, poultry, and fish for one serving per day of red meat was associated with a 14% lower risk of breast cancer overall.
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