May 24

Study: Eating Government-Recommended Level of Red and Processed Meat Increases Colorectal Cancer Risk

According to a new study published by the International Journal of Epidemiology, the consumption of red and processed meat at a level that meets current UK government recommendations is “associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer.”

For the study, researchers “used Cox-regression models to estimate adjusted hazard ratios for colorectal cancer by dietary factors in the UK Biobank study.” Men and women aged 40–69 years at recruitment reported their diet on a short food-frequency questionnaire. Dietary intakes were re-measured in a large sub-sample who completed an online 24-hour dietary assessment during follow-up. Trends in risk across the baseline categories were calculated by assigning re-measured intakes to allow for measurement error and changes in intake over time.

“During an average of 5.7 years of follow-up, 2609 cases of colorectal cancer occurred”, states the study. “Participants who reported consuming an average of 76 g/day of red and processed meat compared with 21 g/day had a 20% higher risk of colorectal cancer.” Participants in the highest fifth of intake of fiber from bread and breakfast cereals “had a 14% lower risk of colorectal cancer.”

The study also found that alcohol was associated with an 8% higher risk per 10 g/day higher intake.

The study concludes by stating that “Consumption of red and processed meat at an average level of 76 g/d that meets the current UK government recommendation (≤90 g/day) was associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer. Alcohol was also associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer, whereas fibre from bread and breakfast cereals was associated with a reduced risk.”

More information on this study can be found by clicking here.


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The Vegan Herald, launched in 2015, is a vegan news and information website.

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