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Why eating ‘right’ could cause you to stray from your diet

The first study to consider the sources of nutrients in a modern-day population as well as typical eating patterns in developed nations.

New findings published on the 17th April in the International Journal of Epidemiologysuggest that even the recommended amounts of red and processed meat may be harmful to health. This single large prospective study of half a million people in the UK showed that red and processed meats are carcinogenic to the human colon.

Researchers found that consuming just 25g processed meat or 50g red meat increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 20 percent! To put this in perspective, 25g processed meat is equivalent to one slice of ham or a single rasher of bacon. Similarly, 50g of red meat is just one more lamb cutlet or one thick slice of roast beef.

People who ate more than 25g/day of processed and red meat were compared to those who ate an average of less than 21g/day, which typically included those who only consumed this type of meat on two or fewer days of the week.

The study looked at a very large number of subjects – over half a million men and women – of whom more than 2600 eventually developed colorectal cancer.

The alarming part of this study is that UK government recommendations for average daily intakes of red and processed meat top out at 90g/day, but most subjects at increased cancer risk in this study only consumed around 76g/day. This means that the average amount of meat by the subjects at greatest risk of colorectal cancer fell well within the UK government recommendations of 90g/day or less.

The study also reported a reduced risk with a higher intake of fiber in the form of bread or cereal reduced the risk by 14%. Fiber from fruit and vegetables didn’t count, apparently.

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Posted on: April 21 2019

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