The dangers of deli meats neutralized by antioxidants

Antioxidants could modulate the effects of deli meats on the risk of breast cancer, to the point of making them harmless.

The consumption of red meat, and particularly that of deli meats, has been associated with breast cancer, but the level of evidence is limited by lack of data. On the other hand, it has been suggested that antioxidants may have a rather protective effect, but here too the evidence is limited.

Hence the interest of this new analysis of data from the French study SU.VI.MAX. For the first time, she examines the possible effects of antioxidant supplementation on the relationship between charcuterie and breast cancer. This work concerns 4,684 women who received, between 1994 and 2003, either a supplement of 5 antioxidants at nutritional doses (vitamins C and E, beta-carotenes, selenium and zinc), or a placebo.

The deleterious effects of charcuterie neutralized by antioxidants

The results show that:

– breast cancer increases with the consumption of charcuterie, the result being more marked for charcuterie excluding cooked ham.

– this association becomes statistically insignificant among people who take antioxidant supplements, which is a novelty.

-A diet rich in antioxidants, in particular through sufficient consumption of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, would therefore be even more important for women who love cold cuts.


Pouchieu C. et al., Consumption of red meats and processed meats and risk of breast cancer – modulation by antioxidant supplementation in the SU.VI.MAX study, JFN -1056.


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