If eating less meat (or kicking it once and for all) is on your list of 2014 resolutions, here’s a news flash that may help: a major research study out this week has concluded that a diet heavy in meat consumption is right up there in the list of no-nos like smoking and excessive alcohol use if you’re seeking to avoid cancer.

The study, published in Nutrients, examined data from 2008 to analyze the frequency of 21 different types of cancers that occurred in 157 countries (87 of which were stated as having “reliable” cancer information) and compared these rates with risk-modifying factors.

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It was found that smoking and diets high in animal products had the strongest correlations with elevated cancer rates. And, as reported by Medical News Today, “The team found that animal products had the strongest correlation among certain cancers, including female breast, kidney, ovarian, pancreatic, prostate, testicular and thyroid cancer.”

The researchers state that animal products may increase cancer risk because they promote “growth of the body as well as tumors by producing insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I).”

There were noted variances in how animal products impacted different genders, as well as notes of other factors that can, of course, impact the correlations, but much of the message arising from the research is clear: munching on meat every single day probably isn’t in your health’s best interest, Green Monsters.

“This is an important study showing strong relationships between meaty diets and cancer risk,” said Neal Barnard of the George Washington University School of Medicine. “There’s a clear-cut lesson there for national food policies.”

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Already living the meatless life? Pat yourself on the back (and steer clear of smoking)! Looking for ways to eat less meat? We can help ease the transition with these delicious recipes! And be sure to check out, “5 Easy Ways to Cut Down on Your Meat Consumption,” too!

Image Source: Björn Láczay/Flickr