Dear Wellness Seeker,
Based on the Global Cancer (GLOBOCAN) statistics, colorectal cancer is the second most diagnosed cancer in females and third in males with an overall estimated 1.4 million cases and 639,900 deaths occurring in 2012. According to demographic projections, it is expected that CRC will increase globally by more than 2.2 million new cases and 1.1 million deaths by 2030. The World Cancer Research and American Institute for Cancer Research concluded that red meat is a ‘’convincing’’ risk factor for CRC, which is supported by the outcome obtained from the WCRF Continuous Update Project (CUP). The results suggest a positive association, as CRC risk increased by 12% for every 100g/ day increase of red meat.
What is considered as red meat?
Red meat is defined as pork, veal, beef, horse, lamb, mutton and goat by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Why can red meat consumption lead to carcinogenesis?
Supportive evidence has proposed that haem molecules present in red meat, promote the production of harmful compounds that cause damage to cells and tissues in the colon. In addition, it has also been suggested that the high composition of fat in red meat, results in the accumulation of bile acids which can trigger carcinogenesis.
How much red meat is safe to eat?
The current global guidelines suggest reducing red meat intake to no more than 90g a day or 500g a week. However, there is no safe limit for processed meats, these include hams, salami, sausages, bacon, beef jerky and canned meats.
Is it safer to just consume poultry and fish?
There is not enough evidence to evaluate this, however, several studies have shown no increased risk of colorectal cancer in subjects consuming poultry and fish.
Does cooking affect the harmful effects caused by eating red meat?
Yes, cooking meats in very high temperatures (frying, broiling, or grilling) increases the creation of carcinogenic chemicals.
What steps can I take to improve my diet and the harmful risks of red meat?
The Eatwell Guide is a policy tool that applies to the majority of people regardless of weight, dietary preferences/restrictions or ethnic origin. The Eatwell guide encourages the consumption of at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. It has been found that diets high in fruits and vegetables especially those containing vitamin C, selenium, fibre, and folate are protective against the harmful effects caused by red meat. However, it is important to note that red meat intake is not over-consumed beyond the recommended limits even when fruits and vegetable consumption is increased.
To your Best Life,
Felicia Gaitanos MSc
Your Chenot Wellness Team