Myth- Red meat is bad for you

The common refrain: red meat causes cancer.

Absolute statements are why we have so many nutrition myths. Cancer is particularly difficult to discuss in absolutes. After all, almost everything we eat has the potential to be involved in cancer development Yet, red meat has been fingered as a likely culprit.

Some compounds — such as polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), found in smoked meats — have been found to damage the genome, which is the first step to potential cancer. Current evidence suggests that processed red meats, particularly those that are more charred during cooking, can pose a greater cancer risk for people with poor diets and lifestyles. But if you moderate your red meat intake, exercise regularly, eat your fruits and veggies, consume adequate fiber, don’t smoke, and drink only in moderation, red meat's effect on cancer isn't something to worry too much about. 

The Truth: Fears about red meat causing cancer are vastly exaggerated. Making healthy lifestyle choices (such as staying at a healthy weight, exercising, and not smoking) is more important than micromanaging your red meat intake. Still, if you plan to decrease your intake of red meat, start with the kind that has been cured, smoked, or highly processed.

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