Overcooked meat and prostate cancer

Research published today in PLoS ONE(1) suggests that prostate cancer may be associated with consumption of over-cooked red meat. The survey of 1000 US men found that barbequeing or burning meat was linked with an increased risk of developing prostate cancer. 

Commenting on the study, Dr Carrie Ruxton, a dietitian and member of the Meat Advisory Panel, said: “This study isn’t new as we already know that overcooking meat, poultry and fish produces compounds, called heterocyclic amines, may increase the risk of bowel cancer. However, there is no consensus on how such compounds might influence prostate cancer. It may be, in this particular study, that meat consumption was simply a marker for other lifestyle factors - such as smoking, obesity or age – which all affect cancer risk.
“The topic of meat and cancer was addressed earlier this year by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN). This expert panel concluded that an average daily red meat intake of up to 70 grams per day (as cooked meat)(2) is safe for adults(3).  Average intakes in the UK are already this level, according to Government data, suggesting that most people don’t need to reduce their red meat consumption. 

“Meat and meat products make a significant contribution to intakes of iron, zinc, selenium, vitamin D and B vitamins, and the Department of Health advises that lean red meat should be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet. To enjoy meat safely, it is recommended that meat is cooked without additional fat, and burning or charring of meat is avoided”.


Notes to editors:   

If you would like further information on red meat and cancer please visit: meatandhealth.redmeatinfo.com/health-professionals/red-meat-factsheets 

(1) Punnen S, Hardin J, Cheng I, Klein EA, Witte JS (2011) Impact of Meat Consumption, Preparation, and Mutagens on Aggressive Prostate Cancer. PLoS ONE 6(11): e27711. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0027711.
(2) Henderson L, Gregory J, et al. (2003). The National Diet and Nutrition Survey: Adults Aged 19-64 Years. Volume 3 Vitamin and mineral intake and urinary analytes. London, The Stationery Office.
(3) SACN (Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition). (2009). "Draft SACN Report on Iron and Health."   Retrieved 1st November 2010, from http://www.sacn.gov.uk/pdfs/draft_iron_and_health_report_complete_june_2009_consultation.pdf.