burger hott.jpgA U.S. study has shown that people who eat lots of red meat may have a higher risk of some types of kidney cancer.

Researchers found that middle-aged adults who ate the most red meat were 19 percent more likely to be diagnosed with kidney cancer than those who ate the least. A higher intake of chemicals found in grilled or barbecued meat was also linked to increased risk of the disease, they reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Participants with the highest consumption of red meat—about 110 grammes per day—were 19 percent more likely to be diagnosed with kidney cancer than those who ate the smallest amount, less than 28 grammes per day.

“Red meat is an important source for iron (and) it has protein,” said Dr. Mohammed El-Faramawi, an epidemiologist from the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth, who has studied diet and kidney cancer risks but wasn’t involved in the new study.

“You should not stop eating red meat because there is an association between red meat and renal cancer,” he said.

Instead, eating a limited amount of meat while following dietary recommendations is a good idea, he said.

Eating red meat in large amounts—even if it doesn’t necessarily lead to kidney cancer—increases the risk of a host of health problems, such as plaque buildup in the arteries, El-Faramawi added.

Previous studies examining the link between red meat and kidney cancer arrived at mixed conclusions, according to Carrie Daniel, from the National Cancer Institute in Rockville, Maryland, and her colleagues.

The study however does not prove that eating red meat, or cooking it a certain way, causes kidney cancer. And, El-Faramawi pointed out, some people who eat lots of red meat won’t develop cancer, while others that hardly eat any will.