HIV Foundation Health “Cancer cells are fed” – underestimated health risks lurk in meat and sausage

“Cancer cells are fed” – underestimated health risks lurk in meat and sausage

Iron deficiency is often discussed. There is hardly any talk about the opposite, the frequent overloading with heme iron, the iron form made from red meat and sausage. It promotes the common diseases of diabetes, cancer and arteriosclerosis. FOCUS Online shows how you can meet your iron needs in a healthy way.

The trace element iron is indispensable for a number of vital metabolic functions in the body. As a component of hemoglobin in the red blood cells, it supplies every body cell with oxygen. Iron deficiency, which manifests itself in anemia, exhaustion, susceptibility to infection, affects around 20 percent of women and ten percent of men in Germany. The higher risk for women is explained by menstruation and decreases accordingly when the childbearing phase of life is over.

Many people have an excess of iron – and know nothing about it

Iron deficiency is known and many nutrition-conscious people pay attention to adequate iron intake. However, significantly more people could have anything but an iron deficiency, namely too much of this trace element. Probably very few people know about it, although it carries a high risk of disease.

Heme iron and non-heme iron: these are the differences

First and foremost, it is important for these relationships – there are the two known, different forms of iron, only one of which can be hazardous to health:

1. Heme iron , i.e. bivalent iron (Fe), mainly found in red meat and sausage. Heme iron has a high bioavailability, the body can use at least 20 percent from food.

2. Non-heme iron , trivalent iron (Fe3), from plant-based nutrient suppliers such as legumes, whole grains, nuts, oil seeds and various types of vegetables. Non-heme iron must first be oxidized to some form of Fe in the small intestine in order for the body to use it. In this way, only around five percent of the iron from food comes into play.

The iron requirement per day is 15 milligrams for women and 10 milligrams for men.

Underestimated health risk heme iron

What is certain is that most people in industrialized nations have at least a sufficient supply of the trace element. Due to our meat and sausage-heavy diet, a large part is even oversupplied with heme iron, and thus risks diseases. Various studies indicate these relationships .

“We assume that too much heme iron can have negative health consequences through eating meat,” explains Matthias Riedl, board member of the Association of German Nutritionists (BDEM) and diabetologist, nutritionist, internist, managing director and medical director at Medicum Hamburg.

The human organism is not prepared for high meat consumption

Normally, a complex mechanism of substances in the liver and intestines controls the iron level. If too much iron storage protein ferritin is measured, the body slows down absorption. “This does not work adequately with large amounts of heme iron, the body continues to absorb it, simply because this form of iron is extremely easy to use,” says the expert.

The nutritionist explains that the cause lies in our evolutionary history. Up until two million years ago, humans were purely plant-eaters, only then did they add animal consumption. That was sometimes more, mostly less meat – definitely a lot less than is regularly eaten today. The human organism is not prepared for this.

High consumption of heme iron feeds cancer cells

The excess iron is then deposited in the pancreas, liver and spleen, which can put stress on the organs. But that’s not all. “Heme iron can promote mutations via certain chemical compounds – for example in intestinal cells, but also in other cells,” warns the internist.

In addition, these compounds have a cytotoxic effect, so they can not only change cells, but also damage them. “And cancer cells, on the other hand, are properly fed by heme iron, so to speak,” says the expert. Malignant cells have a high demand for this trace element. A high consumption of heme iron means that existing cancer cells grow better and are stronger against the immune system.

Meat lovers are more likely to develop diabetes and arteriosclerosis

In addition to the connection between heme iron and cancer, many nutritional studies have shown two other negative effects of the “meat iron”:

1. Numerous studies show that people who consume a lot of sausage and meat are particularly likely to have type 2 diabetes .

2. In addition, this dietary preference often leads to arteriosclerosis , with the well-known secondary diseases of high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke.

“If people don’t eat ‘appropriately’, they get sick”

The higher the meat consumption, the higher the risks for cancer, diabetes and arteriosclerosis. What actually stands behind it: “If people do not eat ‘species-appropriate’, i.e. eat too much red meat and sausage and thus too much heme iron, they will get sick,” warns Matthias Riedl. It is well known that primitive peoples who still eat originally – eat very little meat and no sausage – do not have arteriosclerosis at all, for example.

Trivalent iron from plants is converted into bivalent iron

So heme iron has a rather negative effect on the body. Non-heme iron, on the other hand, does not pose these health risks – but is converted into bivalent iron in the body in order to make it available. Doesn’t it then become as unfavorable as bivalent heme iron? “No, because the trivalent iron from plants is converted into a bivalent iron, but not into heme iron,” explains the expert.

Providing the body with healthy iron – vegetables and fruits with non-heme iron

In order to provide the body with sufficient iron without meat, there are a number of plant-based foods that have a high content of non-heme iron, such as:

  • Lentils around 2.7mg / 100gr
  • Chickpeas around 2.7mg / 100gr
  • Peas 1,5mg / 100gr
  • Spinach 3,6mg / 100gr
  • Chanterelles 6.5mg / 100gr
  • Elderberry 1.6mg / 100gr
  • Pine nuts 9.2mg / 100gr
  • Millet 6.9mg / 100gr
  • Flaxseed, ground 8,4mg / 100gr
  • Amaranth 8.9mg / 100gr

Spinach contains a comparatively high amount of iron for a plant-based food, but at the same time the substances it contains can prevent it from being absorbed by the body. Beans or lentils are therefore better suited as a vegetarian source of iron.

Intelligently upgrade the bioavailability of iron from vegetables and fruits

Sure, none of these foods provide as much iron as meat. “The availability of iron from plant-based foods can be increased by cleverly combining the ingredients in a meal,” says Matthias Riedl. Vitamin C, for example, improves absorption. Suggestion for a corresponding daily plan:

  • In the morning: oatmeal / muesli with fruit, a glass of orange or lemon juice for breakfast,
  • Lunch: millet salad with paprika (the pods are extremely rich in vitamin C),
  • In the evening: whole wheat pasta with broccoli or parsley pesto

Coffee and tea inhibit iron availability

However, there are also plant substances that have an inhibiting effect on iron absorption. These are phytates and polyphenols, for example, these plant substances are contained in coffee and tea. So avoid these drinks during, immediately before and after a meal containing iron. In wholemeal products, on the other hand, the phytate content plays a lesser role, as they convince with their high iron content.

Cover your iron requirement healthily, certain meats are also allowed

“Those who follow a purely vegetarian / vegan diet can still get too little iron, especially women are at risk here,” says the expert.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women in particular should take preparations if they have a proven iron deficiency. Otherwise there is a ‘species-appropriate’ solution for everyone: That means a small, moderate meat meal per week, preferably poultry meat, because white meat is not statistically associated with the disease risks mentioned.

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For a year, the presenter and author Anna Funck pored through various nutrition trends to find out: What really makes you more beautiful, fitter and healthier? Their conclusion: It can be a little chocolate – and carbohydrates in any case.

I don’t know about you, but do you always feel so drained and overfed, especially in the first few months of the new year? Yes? My condolences. I do not anymore. I’m out of the number. But I’ll also be happy to tell you how I did it. Or as my friend Inke said the other day: “You are always so slim – despite feasting. How does that work?”

“Diets are not about the ‘what’, but the ‘how'”

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For a year I cooked my way through all the usual diet trends: from paleo and superfoods to apple cider vinegar and algae sweets to bog water, I tried a wide variety of methods.

Carbohydrates make us happy and relaxed

Since then, I’ve always shook my head a little when I hear again that Jennifer Lopez and others are calling out “No Carbs Week” on Instagram again. Carbohydrates only bark, but they don’t bite. They are not angry – on the contrary: They make us happy, let us relax and increase our ability to perceive. The brain needs carbohydrates, otherwise it will cook on the back burner.

“But they should make you fat?” My friend Inke explains to me again. Whereupon I have to laugh: “Yes, we all think so. Because we combine them incorrectly. If we only ate one type of carbohydrate per meal and took enough breaks, we would not gain weight at all. ”

Incidentally, a theory that I stumbled across during my research from Hamburg to Hollywood. Even Hollywood stars are taught that – only not the fat average German.

The body needs carbohydrates – but not too much at once

Need an example? Let’s take our breakfast. Hands up, who eats a jam roll in the morning? Mistake number one! Because there are three types of carbohydrates in jam rolls per se. The first is the cereal in the bun, the second is the fructose from the jam and the third is perhaps a refined sugar for preservation.

Our body then thinks: “Great, I know the grain, I’ll use it, but I’ll put the other two carbohydrates on my hip right away. And then I get tired and lie down first. “Hello afternoon low!

So my trick – if it has to be a roll – would be to top it with a neutral hard cheese. This meal doesn’t make you fat or tired. But please don’t use a soft camembert, because it contains lactose.

Now you also know why I never offer my children a few cornflakes with milk and sugar before school. In terms of metabolism, the dwarfs would prefer to go straight back to bed – with such a combination of milk and industrial sugar and cereals, no wonder.

Select carbohydrates specifically

“But that’s terribly complicated – I have to know all the carbohydrates!” Interjects Inke.

Actually, it’s not difficult. Meat and fish as well as vegetables, hard cheese and eggs are neutral. And you wouldn’t actually eat rice, potatoes and pasta together with that. Actually, I just make sure that I only eat one sugar or only one type of cereal or only one starch together. When I fry something, I don’t mix the fats, I stick with one. In the restaurant, I don’t eat the bread basket empty if I’ve ordered potatoes with the fish anyway. And if it should be a glass of wine (also contains carbohydrates), then I enjoy it best after dinner.

Give your digestion breaks

We come to factor two: The ‘how’ does not only refer to the composition of our meals, but also to the ‘when’. In general, I noticed that we are actually digesting continuously.

In the morning we eat our fattening breakfast, which nobody really needs because it takes away all energy, then we drink a carbohydrate bomb in the form of a café latte with lots of milk and sugar afterwards, push ourselves into the canteen, then need it caffeine again because we’re so tired from eating before we go back in the evening.

Our body actually just wants a break. And maybe a green tea, a smoothie, or just nothing so he can send the cleaning crew through. We eat and eat and don’t even know why.

What can you still eat? It is confusing

I admit, everything has gotten very confusing too: gluten is bad, milk full of hormones, meat the devil, everyone is confused. I often hear that you can continue to eat as normal. It is worthwhile to feed in more precisely. If we buy it cheaply in the bakery for twenty cents, the dough can contain additives such as corn, potatoes, glucose syrup, i.e. sugar, and there are also flavor enhancers.

Do you notice what? Again several carbohydrates and chemistry. And immediately we get fat and tired, have a stomachache like we did in the ninth month and in the end even stomach ache, migraines and sleep disorders. With organic you are on the safe side. And with breaks and some kind of carbohydrate too, I think.

Sinning is allowed – but then there is a long pause

And whoever has sinned, simply waits five instead of two hours. Who is perfect and always obeys all the rules? If I am invited to a friend’s house, I sometimes skip five, but I always return to the one-carbohydrate principle. This also applies to snacking: at the moment I like to treat myself to a bar of chocolate in the evening – from Monday to Friday.

Yes you’ve read correctly. Chocolate is my insider tip, because the cocoa practically covers the sugar, which is why chocolate is just one type of carbohydrate. Or as my nutritionist Dörten Wolff once put it: “If you know how to eat chocolate correctly, it doesn’t necessarily work!”

In my case, eating right means: If I notice that I have to put in another chocolate unit in the evening, then I eat meat and vegetables instead of high-carbohydrates for dinner. My dessert, the chocolate, is my carbohydrate component. Without question, it should be high quality chocolate and not cheap, adulterated one.