Maybe red meat is not all bad! A recent study looked for a link between consumption of red and processed meat and melanoma. They used data from over 75,000 women and 48,000 men from the Nurse Health Study and Health Professionals follow up Study. In these groups a total of 1318 melanomas were identified. I am sure the investigators were expecting to show red meat is bad and dangerous. Surprisingly, red and processed meat intake was inversely associated with melanoma risk. That means that people who eat more red and processed meat had a slightly lower risk of melanoma! While this may be due to some other “associated behavior”, (maybe meat eaters are spending less time in the sun), we should not ignore the result just because it doesn’t fit into our paradigm of “healthy eating”. Perhaps there is a true protective effect to eating red and processed meat as far as melanoma is concerned but this needs further study to confirm and understand. If confirmed understanding the mechanism may give insight into other ways of lowering melanoma risk that vegetarians can enjoy too.


Red meat and processed meat intake and risk of cutaneous melanoma in white women and men: Two prospective cohort studies
Yen, Hsi et al.
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 2018 In Press