September 26, 2022
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Red Meat and Processed meat linked to Bowel Cancer

  • October 27, 2015
  • 4 min read
Red Meat and Processed meat linked to Bowel Cancer

Red meat has been associated with cancer as well as accelerated aging, people are aware of this fact. In a big study  published in April 9, 2012, in the Archives of Internal Medicine, a team of Harvard researchers looked for statistical links between meat consumption and cause of death. The populations scrutinized included about 84,000 women from the Nurses’ Health Study and 38,000 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. People in the study who ate the most red meat tended to die younger, and to die more often from cardiovascular disease and cancer.  However aware of the fact, we do tend to cut out on red meat but the horror is we consume an enormous amounts of processed meat in day to day life and now one of the highest authority center working in field of cancer has announced Red and Processed meat to be linked to cancer.

What are Red Meat and Processed Meat?

As per IARC, WHO

Red meat” refers to beef, pork, lamb, and goat from domesticated animals, including that contained in processed foods and in most beefburgers. It does not include poultry or wild game, or offal (however, the impact of consumption of offal and wild game on cancer risk is unknown).

Processed meat” refers to meat preserved by smoking, curing, or salting, or addition of chemical preservatives. This includes, for instance, ham, bacon, salami, and some sausages such as frankfurters.

processed meat and Cancer

Recommended by IARC: Source Article

To Eat or Not to Eat, Advice

Red Meat- Eating a lot of red meat increases the likelihood of developing bowel cancer- specially colorectal cancers. However it still is a good source of several nutrients required for the body. As a guide, it is recommended to avoid eating more than about 500 grams of red meat per week (500 grams cooked weight, which is equivalent to about 700–750 grams raw weight, depending on the cut and how it is cooked).

Processed Meat- Because consumption of processed meat is also positively associated with risk of bowel cancer, even in smaller amounts, and offers no additional nutritional benefit over red meat, it is recommended to avoid processed meat as much as possible, to reduce cancer risk. The experts have concluded that each 50 gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%.

What is the Basis of this recommendation?

In October, 2015, 22 scientists from ten countries met at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in Lyon, France, to evaluate the carcinogenicity of the consumption of red meat and processed meat.  800 studies were analysed and the study was published in 26 october,2015.  Based on the findings , The IARC added processed meat to the same group 1 category of cancer-causing agents as tobacco smoke and asbestos.The analysis of 800 studies from around the world by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) found sufficient evidence in humans that the consumption of processed meat causes colorectal cancer. It includes meat that has been salted, cured, fermented or smoked — hot dogs, sausages, corned beef, dried meat like beef jerky or South African biltong, canned meat or meat-based sauces.

Cancer Research UK has illustrated the risk association on this picture-

Who are the highest consumer of Meat worldwide?

So, the eating behavior and specially cutting out the processed meat seems very much advisable. However it is not that Eating meat should be compared to Smoking and Alcohol. Eat wisely. Whether or not you eat red or processed meat regularly, you may want to consider scheduling a regular Colon Cancer Testing as early detection is key to surviving cancer.


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