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Summertime and the Grilling is Easy

AJ-Wise Woman

Blog by A.J. White


Before you throw that burger or steak on the grill, consider the following. A recently released study of nearly 89,000 women who ate varying amounts of red meat over a 20 years period show a startling result in the increase of breast cancer (Wise, 2014).

This longitudinal study looked at five different protein categories - unprocessed red meat (beef, pork, or lamb and hamburger); processed red meat (such as hot dogs, bacon and sausage); poultry included chicken and turkey; fish included tuna, salmon, mackerel, sardines; and legumes included beans, lentils and peas; and nuts.

The researchers measured nine different levels of red meat frequency consumption – from "never or less than once per month" to "six or more per day." For each step-by-step increase in the 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 researchers determined that the women who ate the most red meat were 22 percent more likely to develop breast cancer. That’s a sobering thought.

What the researchers didn’t measure was the type of meat ingested. This may be an unmeasured variable. We now know that there is a big difference between organic grass-fed cows versus the confined factory raised cows. We also know that red meat is not the saturated fat villain it was touted as being for years. Another important result from this statistical analysis was that if you substituted one serving of poultry for that juicy burger, you would lower your risk of breast cancer by 24 percent if you were a postmenopausal woman.

This researcher believes that we must take all this information with a grain of salt, so to speak. There may be measurements that supposedly give disturbing results, but do not measure all the variables. The quality of beef may be a factor in breast cancer incidence. The questions to ask are: Were the study participants eating factory raised cows? Are there hormones, antibiotics and pesticides in the factory raised cows? What is the impact of processed food on breast cancer incidence? What is the quality of the poultry eaten by the participants? More questions than answers.

Is there research comparing organic grass-fed beef compared with GMO fed cows? It’s probably too soon to tell. I’ll keep looking and let you know. In the meantime, eat organic, cut processed foods and eat your veggies. Be well. AJ

Reference: Wise, J. (2014). Eating more red meat is linked with raised risk of breast cancer. BMJ (Clinical Research Ed.), 348, g3814. doi:


- A.J. White is a registered nurse and is completing a nursing. She can be reached at, or you can visit her website: www.  



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