According to a new study conducted at the University of California in San Diego, the main culprit behind red meat and its connection to the increasing number of cancer cases is actually a sugar known as Neu5Gc.
Humans are the only animal species that are at an increased risk of cancer because of red meat consumption. The study revealed that the reason for this is a rare sugar known as Neu5Gc that can be found in animals, but not in the human body.
The newly discovered sugar triggers an immune response which causes inflammation and results in cancer.
Ajit Varki, the leader of the study, explained that all the evidence linking this sugar to cancer before was incomplete and circumstantial. However, the latest study managed to link it directly to the deadly disease in both humans and animal trials.
The rare sugar is found in red meat such as pork and other types of livestock, as well as some types of cheese and cow’s milk. Our bodies can’t produce Neu5Gc on their own, so it’s detected as an invader in our body once absorbed into the tissues.
This activates an immune response that leads to inflammation – if you’re subjected to it frequently, chronic inflammation will follow, which significantly increases the risk of cancer.
This is the exact reason why people who eat red meat frequently are more exposed to the risk of cancer. Other carnivores such as animals whose bodies produce the sugar can eat red meat without an issue.
However, for us, eating red meat is dangerous as it raises the risk of inflammation and cancer. This is why experts recommend controlling your red meat intake – sorry meat lovers, we just aren’t built for this type of meat.