There’s no solid evidence that it does. In a 1986 study, Japanese researchers discovered cancer developing in rats that were fed “heterocyclic amines,” compounds that are generated from overcooking meat using high heat. Since then, some studies of large populations have suggested a potential link between meat and cancer. Yet no study has ever found a direct cause-and-effect relationship between red-meat consumption and cancer. As for the population studies, they’re far from conclusive. They rely on broad surveys of people’s eating habits and health afflictions, and those numbers are simply crunched to find trends, not causes.