When weighing the cancer risk of some meats to colorectal cancer moderation is the new normal.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) a subsidiary of the World Health Organization, (WHO) ruled that processed meat causes colorectal cancer and red meat e.g. pork, lamb, beef probably does.
The finding was reached by a group of 22 international scientists who scrutinized existing research in more than 800 studies- and concluded there is enough evidence to say that processed meats such as hot dogs and ham increase the risk colorectal cancer. They found that eating as little as 50 grams (almost a pound) of processed meat a day drives up that risk by 18 per cent.
This is not really new; health experts have long recommended limiting the amount of processed meat and red meat from our diet.
Is this latest warning enough to stop people from eating processed meats or red meats? Likely not. But you can moderate your diet—have that occasional hot dog and limit your intake of red meat.
According to Registered Dietician and columnist Leslie Beck, processed meats should be eaten sparingly, if at all. ‘Processed meats ‘ refer to meats preserved by smoking, curing, salting or adding preservatives.Ham, bacon, corned beef; pastrami, salami, bologna, sausages, hot dogs, bratwursts, frankfurters and beef jerky are processed meats.So are turkey (and chicken) sausages, smoked turkey and turkey bacon. However, most studies have looked only at processed red meats.
Diets high in red and processed meats are linked to a greater risk of Type 2 diabetes. A steady intake of fat- and sodium-laden processed meats can also increase the likelihood of high blood pressure, being overweight and cardiovascular disease.
But she says that you don’t have to stop eating red meat, its good a good source of high quality protein It is a good source of high-quality protein, B vitamins, iron and zinc. That said if you eat red meat frequently and in large portions, you should cut back. The Canadian Cancer Society recommends a limit of three servings – three ounces each – per week.
Leslie also recommends varying your protein source by adding fish and chicken to your menu, replacing ground beef for ground turkey or chicken in burgers, chili and pasta sauce recipes. Replace deli meats in sandwiches and salads with tuna, salmon, egg or cooked fresh chicken or turkey. Eat at least four meatless meals each week, such as lentil soup, bean salad, chickpea curry, black bean tacos, pasta e fagioli, tofu stir-fry and vegetarian chili.
As always eating a diet that includes a variety of fruit, vegetables, whole grains and legumes lowers the risk of many chronic diseases. So does limiting alcohol intake, maintaining a healthy weight and getting regular exercise. It is simplistic to blame one food or one habit as being the “cause”, rather increasing risk relates to lots of health choices.
Staying healthy requires much more than eating less meat.
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