Chicken has long been considered a healthier alternative to red meats, so it is not surprising that the average American consumes an estimated 93 pounds yearly. However, a recent study conducted by Oxford University found that eating too much chicken could increase the risk of cancer, specifically non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and prostate cancer.
“Poultry intake was positively associated with risk for malignant melanoma, prostate cancer and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” the study explained in a paper published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
The university carried out the research in an “association study” which simply means that they found a correlation between individuals who ate chicken and those who got cancer. This specific type of study didn’t attempt to figure out why this caused cancer, the Daily Mail reported. It simply found a connection between the two factors.
Through 2006 to 2014, over 475,000 middle-aged Britons were tracked by researchers. Their diets were determined and then cross-referenced with any illnesses they obtained while on the said diet. Of the 475,000 Britons, 23,000 developed cancer, The Sun reported.
Since there was no exact determination as to what in the chicken caused cancer, researchers are only left to speculate as to the main reason. “The positive associations of poultry intake with prostate cancer and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma require further investigation,” researchers wrote in the aforementioned paper.
Researchers argue it could be how the chicken was prepared and at what temperature it was cooked.
A similar study was conducted in the United States that found red meat was a probable cause of certain cancers.
The National Health Service echoed the findings of the U.S research, stating there is “probably a link between eating a lot of red and processed meat and bowel (colorectal) cancer.”
However, earlier this year, researchers in the U.S. found that women who switched their diet from beef or lamb to poultry were 28 percent less likely to get breast tumors. These studies are nothing new. A few years ago, researchers claimed that certain items such as bacon have been linked to bowel cancer.
If all this sounds confusing, you’re not alone. At this rate, the real question is: What doesn’t cause cancer?