Sunday 11 December 2016

Q & A: Why are processed meats and bowel cancer being linked?

Published 27/10/2015 | 02:30

Bacon
Bacon

Why are processed meats and bowel cancer being linked?

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One possible reason is that the compound that gives red meat its colour, haem, may damage the lining of the bowel.

In addition, when meat is preserved by smoking, curing or salting, or by adding preservatives, cancer-causing substances (carcinogens) can be formed.

Studies have also found that people who eat a lot of red meat tend to eat fewer plant-based foods that protect against cancer.

How much red meat do we eat?

The average person eats approximately 70g meat a day (88g for men, 52g for women), but 33pc consume more than 100g a day.

How can I reduce my cancer risk?

The WCRF advises that people can reduce their bowel cancer risk by eating no more than 500g (cooked weight) per week of red meat, such as beef, pork and lamb. It also says people should eat processed meats such as ham, bacon and salami as little as possible.

What is defined as red meat?

Foods such as hamburgers, minced beef, pork chops and roast lamb are also regarded as red meat. As a rough guide, the WCRF says 500g of cooked red meat is the same as 700g of raw red meat.

What is defined as processed meat?

Processed meat is meat which has been preserved by smoking, curing or salting, or by the addition of preservatives. Examples include ham, bacon, pastrami and salami, as well as hot dogs and some sausages.

Irish Independent

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