No safe level

Red and processed meats are putting even low consumers at risk

People eating red and processed meat increase their risk of bowel cancer even if the amount they eat falls within government guidelines. 

Published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, the study followed half a million men and women over a five year period and found that those who kept close to the guidelines – around 76 grams of red or processed meat per day – had a 20 per cent higher risk of bowel cancer compared to those eating 21 grams a day. The risk increased by a further 20 per cent with every extra bacon rasher or lamb chop eaten per day.

The government recommends that people should not eat more than 90 grams a day and even they should try to cut down to 70 grams. It’s like telling people to cut down on smoking rather than quitting!

Around one in every 15 men and one in every 18 women born after 1960 will develop bowel cancer. You can significantly cut your risk simply by changing your diet.

Bradbury KE, Murphy N and Key TJ, 2019. Diet and colorectal cancer in UK Biobank: a prospective study. International Journal of Epidemiology. [Epub ahead of print]