Bacon increases the risk of bowel cancer

Bacon increases the risk of bowel cancer

Researchers found that people who eat 76g of red and processed meat a day are 20% more likely to develop the condition than those who eat 21g a day.

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British consumers are eating the right quantities of red meat and can continue to enjoy it as part of a balanced diet, according to health experts responding to the latest study linking red meat to cancer.

Department of Health guidance states that people who eat more than 90g (cooked weight) of red and processed meat a day should reduce this to 70g, which is the average daily consumption in the UK.

It has always been linked to heavy consumption of red meat, especially processed types.

This is according to a new study, led by Oxford University, into the link between red and processed meats - such as bacon, sausages and packaged deli meats like salami - and bowel cancer.

In the new study, some 475,581 people aged 40 to 69 were followed for an average of 5.7 years.

Scientists found that colorectal cancer risk rose 20 per cent with every 25 grams of processed meat people ate per day, equivalent to a strip of bacon or slice of ham. The WHO has classified red meat as "probably carcinogenic to humans". A bottle of beer or glass of wine increases the risk of bowel cancer by 8 per cent, but people in the highest fifth for fibre intake from bread and breakfast cereals had a 14 percent lower risk of bowel cancer.

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Risk increased 19 per cent with every 50 grams of red meat, such as a thick slice of roast beef or a lamb chop.

"Most previous research looked at people in the 1990s or earlier, and diets have changed significantly since then", Key added, "so our study gives a more up-to-date insight that is relevant to meat consumption today".

She said reducing the amount of red and processed meat eaten regularly could also cut salt and saturated fat in the diet and decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease.

The head of health information at Cancer Research UK, Julie Sharp, said the study should serve as a reminder that you can always improve your health beyond simply following government guidelines.

Researchers found that consuming red and processed meat at an average level of 76 g/d, which is less than the current United Kingdom government recommendation of ≤90g/day, was associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer (CRC).

The most significant of these highlighted in the new study are age, genetics, lack of dietary fibre, inactivity and high alcohol consumption.

For instance, she suggested meat-free Mondays, and trying more recipes using filling ingredients such as fish, beans, and lentils.

Bowel cancer is one of the most common types of cancer diagnosed in Britain.

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