Does being vegetarian lower your chances of cancer?


Scientist have found that people who were vegetarian, were less likely to get cancer. The question is if those findings are due to chance, and if it’s worth removing meat from your diet. The World Health Organization has determined that dietary factors account for at least 30 percent of all cancers in Western countries.

There is substantial evidence of hormones in processed meats that could cause cancer. According to Kathy Chapman a nutritionist, a vegetarian diet has been shown to be protective against some cancers, however there isn’t evidence that being vegetarian reduces your overall risk of getting cancer.

Scientist have been studying if it is the chemicals involved in the processing increasing the risk of cancer; or the meat itself. Processed meats are strongly correlated with an increased risk of bowel cancer. It’s said if you consume 50g of processed meat a day the likely-hood of you getting cancer went up by 18% Studies have shown that exposure to the HCAs and PAHs (chemicals in processed meats) can cause cancer in mice, according to many experiments. One experiment included feeding the mice a diet supplemented with the HCA chemical. In turn, the mice developed tumors of the breast, liver and other organs. Mice fed the PAH chemical also developed tumors and cancers. However, I questioned the validity of this experiment because the doses of the HCAs and PAHs chemicals used in these studies were thousands of times the dosage a person would consume in a regular diet.

There is evidence that it is more than chance of vegetarians being less likely to get cancer. However they’re quite a few third variables that could be the possible reason it appears meats cause cancer. You could argue that vegetarians are more conscious about their health. Or are more economically —and therefore have more access to quality food.

There’s evidence that countries with a higher intake of fat, especially fat from animal products, have a higher incidence of breast cancer. In Japan, for example, the traditional diet is much lower in fat, especially animal fat, and breast cancer rates are low.

All in all, would it be rational to cut meat out your diet?

2 thoughts on “Does being vegetarian lower your chances of cancer?

  1. Marvin Barnhill

    I would definitely consider confounding variables to take a big part in this study. If you think about it, generally vegetarians are more conscious about the things that they eat. They are probably less likely to eat the processed foods packaged in factories filled with cancer causing chemicals. I think exercise may play a part too, not just whether you’re eating meat or not. We could also consider how vegan and other diets compare to vegetarians when concerning the risk of cancer. Below I’ve linked an article by that gives their take on suggestions for diets that prevent cancer. It even suggests eating MORE fish, which is somewhat contradictory to your findings.

    1. Ademilola Esther Badejo Post author

      Yes! Agreed. I didn’t even think of the difference between a vegan diet and vegetarian diet when comparing the possibility of getting cancer. Very good thought. Hm I just may have to disagree with the fish, or to the least the type of fish. If I’m not mistaken, pregnant women have to be careful about the fish they eat due to the mercury in it. I would assume we all should be cautious about the fish we are eating and the amount. Great ideas. Thanks for commenting. 🙂

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