Researchers from Israel, France, Italy and the United States, led by Tel Aviv University found that meat and dairy diets are linked to the development of colorectal cancer.Those who consume large amounts of dairy products and red meat are more prone to generate antibodies in the blood that increase the chances of getting cancer, similar to that of cholesterol and increased risk of heart disease. The researchers found a direct molecular link between the consumption of Neu5Gc, a sugar molecule found in mammals (not poultry or fish), and the consumption of red meat and dairy products - and humans are known to develop antibodies to this sugar, antibodies that are well-established to cause cancer.To complete the study, the researchers used data from a French national nutritional survey called NutriNet-Santé. The researchers compared the amount of Neu5Gc sugar in various dairy and meat products commonly consumed in France and calculated the daily intake of Neu5Gc in 19,621 adults aged 18 and over, who reported their food consumption online for a few days.The researchers took a representative sample of 120 of the larger sample, who submitted their intake for 21 days in succession who reported a high or low consumption of the sugar, and then tested the levels against the anti-Neu5Gc antibodies present in their bloodstream.The researchers used this information to rank the amount of Neu5Gc sugars in various food products in France - foods where excess consumption leads to increased amounts of these antibodies.The most popular foods that encompass this category is steak, therefore the researchers used it as the basis and gave it the value of 1 - lower than 1 means that an individual would have to consume a lot of the food to consume a high level of the sugar.Foods lower than 1 include: mozzarella cheese (.03), milk (.13) and mutton (.41.) Riskier foods above 1 include: sheep yogurt (1.69), sheep feta (1.71) and Roquefort cheese (3.35) - even though these foods are normally consumed in smaller amounts compared to steak."We found a significant correlation between high consumption of Neu5Gc from red meat and cheeses and increased development of those antibodies that heighten the risk of cancer," said lead researcher, Vered Padler-Karavani of the Department of Cell Research and Immunology at the Shmunis School of Biomedicine and Cancer Research at Tel Aviv University’s George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences. "For years there have been efforts to find such a connection, but no one did. Here, for the first time, we were able to find a molecular link thanks to the accuracy of the methods used to measure the antibodies in the blood and the detailed data from the French diet questionnaires," she added.Dr. Padler-Karavani noted that the combination of methods to complete the study allowed the researchers to predict that people who ate large amounts of these foods would develop high levels of these sugar antibodies, and would in turn be at a higher risk for cancer - mainly colorectal, but also breast cancer.However, the researchers state that anything can be done in moderation, just need to be mindful.