Beef may be advertised as "real food for real people" but a new study has concluded it may give people colon cancer.

The study, published in the current issue of New England Journal of Medicine, finds that women double their risk of colon cancer by eating a main course of beef, pork, lamb, processed meats, or liver at least once a day instead of less than once a month.But eating fish and chicken without the skin dramatically decreases the risk of colon cancer.

The research, based on surveys of over 88,000 nurses, also suggests that a high-fiber diet may help prevent the disease.

Dr. Walter C. Willett, a physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and the chief author of the study, says "the combination of eating high amounts of fiber and low amounts of animal fat appear to be more advantageous" than just a low fat or a high-fiber diet alone.

Doctors have long suspected that there is a link between a high-fat diet and colon cancer. The disease is far less common in many Far East and developing nations, where the fat content of the diet is much lower.

When Japanese come to the United States and adopt a Western diet, their risk of colon cancer rises.

For years, experts have been advising people to abandon fatty meats in favor of skinned chicken, fish, fruits, vegetables and grains.