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Lots of sites and people say that increased consumption of red meat and high saturated fats specifically leads to an increased risk of colon cancer. This is concerning because high protein (meat heavy) diets are a trend amongst young people because of the benefits associated with protein, however, there has also been simultaneously an uptick in colon cancer rates amongst young people.

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Colon and Rectal Cancers Rising in Young People - The New York Times

Scientists are reporting a sharp rise in colorectal cancers in adults as young as their 20s and 30s, though the reasons are unclear.

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“heme iron in blood doesn't seem associated with increase in Colon Cancer from red meat

Red meat and colon cancer: A review of mechanistic evidence for heme in the context of risk assessment methodology.

In conclusion, the methodologies employed in current studies of heme have not provided sufficient documentation that the mechanisms studied would contribute to an increased risk of promotion of preneoplasia or colon cancer at usual dietary intakes of red meat in the context of a normal diet.

International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) released a report in 2015

A working group of 22 experts from 10 countries convened by IARC, after reviewing accumulated scientific literature, classified consumption of red meat as probably carcinogenic to humans (Group 2A).

Full Report can be found here (very short).

What is interesting is processed meat was classified as carcinogenic to humans (Group 1)

More than 800 studies was convened.

The experts concluded that each 50 gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%.

Red meat refers to all types of mammalian muscle meat, such as beef, veal, pork, lamb, mutton, horse, and goat.

Processed meat refers to meat that has been transformed through salting, curing, fermentation, smoking, or other processes to enhance flavor or improve preservation. Most processed meats contain pork or beef, but processed meats may also contain other red meats, poultry, offal, or meat by-products such as blood. Examples of processed meat include hot dogs (frankfurters), ham, sausages, corned beef, and biltong or beef jerky as well as canned meat and meat-based preparations and sauces.

There seems to be limited evidence on whether red meat specifically increases colon cancer risks at normal or higher than normal intake.

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