Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Processed Meat Can Cause Cancer, Red Meat Probably Can: WHO

A vendor sells sausages prepared at a local sausage shop of the
A vendor sells sausages prepared at a local sausage shop of the "Russia" collective farm in the settlement of Grigoropolisskaya, northwest of the southern city of Stavropol, February 17, 2015. (photo: Eduard Kornlyenko/Reuters)

By Gus Trompiz, Reuters
26 October 15
ating processed meats like hot dogs, sausages or bacon can lead to bowel cancer in humans and red meat is a likely cause of the disease, World Health Organisation (WHO) experts said.

The review by the WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), released on Monday, put processed meat in its group 1 list, which also includes tobacco and asbestos, for which there is "sufficient evidence" of cancer links.

Red meat was classified as probably carcinogenic in IARC's group 2A list, to which it has also added this year glyphosate, the active ingredient in many weedkillers.

Meat industry groups rejected the findings as simplistic, although some scientists said they may not add much to existing health recommendations to limit consumption of such meat.

The IARC was carrying out a formal review of meat for the first time and examined some 800 studies during a meeting of 22 health experts in France earlier this month.

"For an individual, the risk of developing colorectal (bowel) cancer because of their consumption of processed meat remains small, but this risk increases with the amount of meat consumed," Dr Kurt Straif of the IARC said in a statement.

Each 50 gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18 percent, the agency estimated.

The classification for red meat - defined as all types of mammalian meat, including beef, lamb and pork - reflected "limited evidence" that it causes cancer. The IARC found links mainly with bowel cancer, but it also observed associations with pancreatic and prostate cancer.

Inconclusive evidence of a link between processed meat and stomach cancer was also observed, it said.

The IARC does not compare the level of cancer risk associated with different substances in a given category, so does not suggest eating meat is as dangerous as smoking, for example.

But the bracketing of processed meat with products such as tobacco or arsenic irked industry groups, with the North American Meat Institute saying the IARC report "defies common sense".

Suppliers argue that meat provides essential protein, vitamins and minerals as part of a balanced diet.

"We've known for some time about the probable link between red and processed meat, and bowel cancer," Professor Tim Key of Oxford University said in a statement from charity Cancer Research UK.

"Eating a bacon bap every once in a while isn't going to do much harm - having a healthy diet is all about moderation."

The IARC, however, said such dietary advice often focused on heart disease and obesity.

It cited an estimate from the Global Burden of Disease Project - an international consortium of more than 1,000 researchers - that 34,000 cancer deaths per year worldwide are attributable to diets high in processed meat.

This compares with about 1 million cancer deaths per year globally due to tobacco smoking and 600,000 a year due to alcohol consumption, it said.

+3 # NAVYVET 2015-10-26 10:14
Eating cooked meat (in a mixed diet with raw fruit & vegetables) was needed by our ancient ancestors before they could evolve large forebrains from the high protein content of meat and from the teamwork & language necessary for hunting. While their longevity seems to have been pretty good (greater than the bread-eating peasants of the Neolithic) it was nowhere near the length of our lives today. Living into old age requires a change in diet -- so now I shun red meats & processed foods & eat a lot more high fiber cereals, fruits and vegetables, lightly cooked or raw, substituting stevia & potassium for sugar & sodium.

We are by ancestry omnivores. I see no reason to become a "vegan" although my ethics make me avoid all meat, even pale meat like chicken, that's maltreated & buy it only from our local co-op. I was raised to be scared of trichinosis & never developed a taste for pork, but I do succumb to lamb or mutton about 4 times a year because I love the taste, and if a hunter offered me a venison steak I'd quickly accept! Temptation is OK now and then, but I do try to eat vegetarian 3 or 4 times a week. I'm near 80, healthier and more energetic than some people 20 years younger, so my diet may be suitable. However, as I age it may need to change again. We just need to be flexible and not worry overmuch about it. I hardly ever think about my health beyond listening to me doctor (she's wise!) and making occasional adjustments.
+3 # Skyelav 2015-10-26 11:09
I am interested that the processing of the meats mentioned here is not seen as the culprit as opposed to the meats themselves. For decades we, the healthy food people, have searched meat counters for non Nitrate and Nitrate preserved bacon, ham, sausage, and the like. Large quantities of red meat may promote bowel cancer but the steak eating American public should all have been sick by now. Actually the Nitrates in the processed meats turn into Nitrosamines (described as having potent carcinogenicity ) in the digestive system and the "government" has been looking for safe levels for awhile. Safe for me equals none because I have a de-toxing issue thanks to a tricky gene mutation (L 677 T) and am thankful someone is finally helping everyday food get healthier.
+2 # Khidr 2015-10-26 12:13
The Hindus have one up on the rest of Meat eating carnivores..... ...............
0 # nancyw 2015-10-26 12:41
The latest find of the skeletal remains of early hominids in Johannesburg shows we were plant eaters. Eat Right for Your Type (meaning blood) says that mainly type O is the only one that can safely eat and actually needs red meat such as beef. The rest of us - lots of plants and maybe a lamb or mutton once in awhile..Perhaps we are still a mixed species of Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon... some can eat meat and others shouldn't...
0 # ericlipps 2015-10-26 18:01
Very ancient hominids were plant eaters because they couldn't GET much meat: indeed, they were prey themselves. As hominids became capable of hunting, meat entered their diets. Vegetarianism is a choice, though my grandparents had a friend who almost died in the womb because her mother was a vegetarian and didn't get enough protein and B vitamins.

Today, of course, one can get B vitamins from supplements, but any diet that needs to be backed up with pills isn't a good one.
+1 # PABLO DIABLO 2015-10-26 13:00
"If God didn't want us to eat animals, He shouldn't have made them out of meat". --- Homer Simpson
+1 # djnova50 2015-10-26 13:15
All humans are born to be omnivores. Look at the teeth. If we were meant to be carnivores, we would have teeth more like leopards. If we were meant to be herbivores, our teeth would resemble those of sheep. Our teeth are varied in order to accommodate a variety of foods.

My concern with these studies that I've been reading about processed meats is the elements that go into processing that meat. Like monosodium glutamate, modified corn starch, sodium diacetate, sodium nitrate, sodium phosphate, sodium erythorbate, or any number of colors or preservatives.

I don't buy meat at the store, mostly because of the cost. I don't think eating Spam once or twice a year is going to cause cancer, if a person is otherwise eating a nutritionally balanced diet.
+1 # John of Milpitas 2015-10-26 14:25
Our eyes, like most other omnivores, are in front of our heads. If we were meant to be herbivores our eyes would be on the sides. Moderation is key.

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