Can Red Meat Cause Cancer?

Photo Credit: Flickr

Photo Credit: Flickr

Scientists have recently discovered that red meat leads to cancer. They claim the pigment that gives a steak or mince its distinctive red color links to a greater chance of bowel cancer. Haem is part of the blood’s hemoglobin that binds in oxygen to allow it to be transported throughout the body and is found much more frequently in red meat than white meat.Red meat contains a lot of iron, which produces the red color and it’s found in much higher quantities in red meat than in white meat.

Researchers from the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands discovered the connection between haem and bowel cancer through experimentation on mice. The researchers found that the mice suffered damage to their gut lining, and through closer examination, they discovered that the bacteria in the mice guts were turning the haem into hydrogen sulphide, which is a chemical that smells like rotten eggs and damages the cells lining of the gut. While it should be cautionary to eat red meat, it does provide a good source of iron, so it is both potentially nutritious and dangerous.

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