A brand-new study from the University of California, San Diego has actually found the culprit behind why eating red meat leads to higher instances of cancer -and everything has to do with a sugar.

Humans are the only animals that have a greater threat of cancer when it comes to consuming red meat, as other predators consume red meat naturally without any ill side effects. The study, which was released December 29 in the “Procedures of the National Academy of Sciences,” discovered that an unique sugar called Neu5Gc, found in most mammals but not in human beings, sets off an immune action that in turn causes inflammation.

Ajit Varki, who led the research study, described the impact Neu5Gc had in mice: “Previously, all our evidence linking Neu5Gc to cancer was circumstantial or indirectly predicted from somewhat synthetic speculative setups … This is the very first time we have straight shown that simulating the specific circumstance in people– feeding non-human Neu5Gc and causing anti-Neu5Gc antibodies -increases spontaneous cancers in mice.”

This specific sugar can be found in red meats (utilizing the dietary meaning of red meat, that includes pork and other livestock), cow’s milk and certain cheeses. Regrettably for people, our bodies cannot produce this sugar naturally, so when it is taken in into our tissues, it is viewed as a foreign invader. This then results in the activation of our immune systems.

The result is inflammation.

And, while swelling is not a great thing, in and of itself, it gets worse. If the immune system is subject to Neu5GC regularly, chronic inflammation will result. This swelling can then cause cancer. Those who routinely consume red meat will certainly suffer a stronger response than those who ingest red meat on an occasional basis.

Other animals, stringent predators, who can make the Neu5GC sugar can eat red meats. People, not being rigorous predators, can’t. Therefore it appears clear that human beings should prevent red meat consumption or face inflammation and possible cancer. At the minimum, decreasing red meat ingestion will increase health.

If for some reason you think eating red meat every day (even if it is grass-fed) isn’t a bad thing, well now you have proof. Sorry, meat eaters, people simply aren’t constructed to be true carnivores.