Lymphoma And Diet: Which One Food Increases Your Risk The Most?

Here’s Dr. Greger’s video about lymphoma, a type of cancer that affects the immune system, specifically lymphocytes or white blood cells.

He begins by discussing this study, which found that meat eaters had a higher risk for all cancers, especially lymphoma. In fact, of all the cancers that not eating meat protected against the most, it was lymphoma, especially a type called multiple myeloma (not to be confused with melanoma, a skin cancer):

Cancer Incidence In British Vegetarians, British Journal of Cancer, July 2009

The most striking finding was the relatively low risk for cancers of the lymphatic and haematopoietic tissues among vegetarians.

By the way, this study found an especially large risk for stomach cancer among meat eaters. If you combine meat eating, drinking alcohol (alcohol causes cancer at higher rates along oral cavity and stomach) and smoking (which exacerbates the cancer-causing effect of alcohol) you’ve laid the groundwork for stomach cancer down the road.

Also of note, this study did not investigate cancer risk in vegans because, “there are currently too few cancers [among vegans] to be informative.”

So, what type of meat increases lymphoma risk the most? Enter the EPIC study, the largest (half a million people), prospective study on diet and cancer in human history:

Consumption Of Meat And Dairy And Lymphoma Risk In The European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer And Nutrition, International Journal of Cancer, April 2010

Dr. Greger:

It was poultry consumption — associated with a significantly increased risk of non-Hodgkins lymphoma, all grades of follicular lymphoma, B-cell lymphomas in general, including B-cell chronic lymphatic leukemia, including small lymphocytic leukemia and prolymphocytic lymphocytic leukemia.

Up to triple the rates for every 50 grams of daily poultry consumption. A cooked chicken breast averages over 200 grams; so that’s for just a quarter of a chicken breast worth of poultry.


I’m reproducing this chart because I’m shocked at one particular number. Under FL, follicular lymphoma, he highlights the average increased risk of 3.80. (That’s triple your risk.) But the range of risk, those numbers to the immediate right of the 3.80, they go up to 10.91! Of course, they could be outliers, but it’s still striking. That’s 10 times the risk! Just for eating chicken.

Chicken is not your friend.

5 thoughts on “Lymphoma And Diet: Which One Food Increases Your Risk The Most?

  1. Bix Post author

    See that 4th image in, in Dr. Greger’s video? Right after the chicken? It’s a bowl of eyeballs, which falls under the category of offal.


  2. Melinda

    How interesting but not unexpected. Last night on the local news they went so far as to point out a large number of cancers and other dangerous diseases caused by red meat in particular, but they even said that substituting plant protein for animal protein could add 10 yrs to your life! Pretty radical for our local news.


  3. Pingback: More On Lymphoma And Diet | Fanatic Cook

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