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Red meat and cancer
22 December 2016
Youthful diet
Red meat and cancer

Bad news for red meat lovers. Sausages and smoked meats are officially recognized as carcinogenic. In October 2015 the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC, Lyon, France), part of the World Health Organization, released a report on the effects of red and processed meat consumption and the probabilities of their causing cancer.

To identify the relationship between the consumption of meat and meat products and cases of cancer, more than 800 studies carried out over the past 20 years have been analysed. The report is the result of the collaboration of 22 specialists from 10 different countries.

A link has been established between the consumption of processed and red meat and the development of cancer. Because of this connection, meat has been classified as “carcinogenic to humans”. The study focused on colon cancer and, to a lesser extent, kidney and prostate cancer.

Meat-processing technologies involve salting, canning and smoking in order to increase shelf life or enhance flavour. They apply to sausages, ham, corned beef, bacon, canned meat, etc.

 

Meat consumption and its consequences 

Daily meat consumption differs greatly from country to country. From just a small percent of the total population to 100%, meat products are more or less popular.

Experts concluded that daily consumption of 50 grams of processed meat increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%, and 100 grams of red meat, by 17%. This refers to increasing the probability of cancer in people who already have a heredity predisposition or are affected by other risk factors, such as poor environment.

“For an individual, the risk of developing colon cancer due to the consumption of meat products remains small, but with an increase in the daily dose of meat the risk increases,” says Dr Kurt Strife, an expert in the Red Cross International Committee.

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