What does red meat do to the body that makes it unhealthy?

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Question from Patricia: Dr. Korde, can you talk about red meat and breast cancer — is it really dangerous to have a holiday roast beef or ham? What about in general — what does red meat really do to the cells in your body? You hear that it's dangerous but you don't know what it really does to a person.
Answers - Larissa Korde I think as we've both been stressing today, focusing on specific contents of one meal, such as one holiday roast beef or ham, I think is less important than focusing on dietary patterns in general. Overall, I think there is evidence that a diet high in red meat is not as healthy as a dietary pattern that includes other more healthy sources of protein. I think there's not much scientifically collected information on the effects of red meat at the cellular level. There have been some studies looking at charred, barbequed, and cured meats, suggesting that those are not healthy and potentially can contribute to cancer risk.
Diana Dyer, M.S., R.D. I think the data are strong that red meat on a regular basis, meaning daily, has an associated risk with several types of cancer, let alone heart disease and other health problems. There are probably multiple reasons why regular consumption of red meat increases cancer risk, much of which we have not fully been able to understand. Grass-fed beef, beef that is 100% grass fed from start to finish does have some healthful properties to it, such as the types of fatty acids in the fat of this meat that actually may be more than just fat, but may actually be helpful. That's 100% grass fed. Again, portion size, portion control is still important.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Nutrition Through the Holidays featured Diana Dyer, M.S., R.D. and Larissa Korde, M.D., M.P.H. answering your questions about what and how much to eat when holiday treats abound.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in October 2009.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

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