Meat consumption linked to cancer risk

Consuming red and processed meat increases the risk of colorectal cancer, according to new research from the World Cancer Research Forum (WCRF).

The WCRF found convincing evidence that greater consumption of processed meat such as bacon or salami increases the risk of colorectal cancer (also known as bowel cancer) and probable evidence of the link between eating too much red meat, defined as more than 500g a week, and heightened risk of the disease.

It also concluded that consuming approximately two or more alcoholic drinks per day increases the risk of colorectal cancer; however eating wholegrains, such as brown rice or wholemeal bread, dairy products and foods containing dietary fibre is associated with lower risk.

The findings are based on global scientific research on diet, nutrition, physical activity and colorectal cancer that was gathered and analysed by a research team at Imperial College London, and then independently assessed by a panel of leading international scientists.

The report reviewed evidence from 99 studies from around the world and forms part of the Continuous Update Project (CUP) – the WCRF’s ongoing programme to analyse global research on how diet, nutrition, physical activity and weight affect cancer risk and survival.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer worldwide. Around 1.4m new cases were recorded globally in 2012, accounting for 10% of all new cases of cancer.

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