Fresh Living

Cancer nutrition studies are obviously just as subject to flip-flopping as regular nutrition studies. When I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma I was told by a top-shelf cancer nutritionist that I should be adding some meat to my mostly vegetarian diet. Acupuncturists told me the same, the logic being that this is a blood cancer and somehow meat helps to strengthen the blood. He suggested lean beef and game about once a week. So over the past five years I’ve started working a little in, thinking I’m giving my body a little flesh medicine once in a while and ignoring the raw foodists in my life who I know are silently aghast at this.

And now, a new cancer and meat study, a pretty major study at Oxford that tracked 61,000 people for 12 years, says that vegetarians are about 12 percent less likely than meat-eaters to get cancer. This isn’t wild and crazy news–many studies have found that consuming a lot of meat can contribute to colon and other cancers. But here’s the part (from a Reuters article) that got me into a personal tizzy (and I am relatively immune to these types of tizzies), “But the most striking and surprising difference was in cancers of the blood — such as leukemia, multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma — where the risk of disease was 45 percent lower in vegetarians than in meat eaters.”

Forty-five freaking percent? And they named “my” cancer? I’m lousy at math, but that number is high enough to keep me full-on veggie forever, forget this medicinal meat stuff. Of course the researchers don’t know why this is, but I wonder if it’s that the known carcinogen of charred meat (Holly posted on this recently) especially affects blood cancers? Or is it the hormones and antibiotics in most cow meat? If it’s either of those, then I could possibly safely continue with my usual regimen of monthly grass-fed, organically raised, non-charred meat. But oy. If it’s something else, even a little bit of meat seems like sort of a bad idea. So confusing.

Here’s an abstract of the study if you want to dig a little deeper:

And you can read Holly’s post about the link between pancreatic cancer and charred meat:

How do you handle conflicting health reports?


Join the Discussion
comments powered by Disqus