So the hot topic in the news recently is how a person consuming 90g or more of red or processed meat per day would increase their risk of contracting colorectal (bowel) cancer by 18%. This information has been officially available since 2011 when it was released by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) so why the big fuss now we hear you say!
Well frankly we have no idea but then again the newspapers have to print something which usually involves expanding on information to invoke controversy and therefore generate sales. You may call us skeptics but the facts are that there has never been any more than a vague association between red meat and increased risk of bowel cancer.
In other words there is no proof of any cause and effect of red or processed meats and its direct effects on bowel cancer.
In fact due to technological advances in farming and butchery there is now considerably less fat contained in meat now compared to 30 years ago and given that we as a species have been eating red meat for millions of years the risk now could well be the lowest it has ever been.
Cancer Research UK statistics state that 16200 people in the UK died of bowel cancer in 2012 which is 14% lower than it was just one decade ago and even lower again since the rate started to fall in the 1970's.
With 90g being the 'alleged' trigger for greater risk then this is good news as the average Brit consumes an equivalent of 71g per day so the vast majority of people need not worry about the media scare as they would be considered a low risk already.
When you have looked at the facts and statistics for red & processed meats versus sugar, alcohol and smoking the results very much speak for themselves. For starters red meats contain essential nutrients such as iron, zinc, b12, selenium and protein not to mention essential fats where as sugar, alcohol and smoking contain non of the above. The effects of sugar on the human body are devastating, massively increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity and stroke while alcohol and smoking together claim 108,500 lives per year and is constantly increasing year on year.
All things considered we think that nutritional balance and moderation, increased activity/exercise, reducing sugar to less than 25g per day, quit smoking and drink less alcohol and you will have just as much chance of living a long and healthy life with a bit of red meat as what you would without it.
Eat your red meat and enjoy it, just do it in moderation.