Processed meat and red meat

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the cancer agency of the World Health Organization, have revealed there is sufficient evidence in humans that the consumption of processed meat causes colorectal cancer. Examples of processed meat include hot dogs, ham, sausages and corned beef. The experts concluded that each 50 gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%.

They found limited evidence that the consumption of red meat causes cancer in humans. Red meat includes beef, veal, pork, lamb, mutton, horse, and goat.

The IARC considered more than 800 studies worldwide that investigated associations of more than a dozen types of cancer with the consumption of red meat or processed meat.

These findings further support current public health recommendations to limit intake of meat. The World Cancer Research Funds (WCRF) Recommendations for Cancer Prevention encourage people to limit their consumption of red meat to less than 500g a week, with very little if any of this being processed. 

It is the healthy choices you make every day that matter most. The occasional hot dog or ham at a special occasion isn’t going to increase your risk. To decrease your overall risk, why not try some of these simple swaps recommended by the WCRF?:

  • Replace packaged deli meats with fresh chicken or fish
  • Instead of bacon, chorizo or salami, try spicy vegetarian sausages
  • Replace sausage in chili and sauces with beans like kidney beans, chickpeas and lentils
  • Try some meat free days: try different sources of protein like eggs, cottage cheese and hummus
  • Use herbs and spices like garlic, fennel seed and chili flakes to add flavour to your dish
Posted: 27/10/2015 11:41:07 by Laura Keaver


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