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Excessive intake of Red Meat may cause cancer
Published on 22 Feb. 2011 1:01 AM IST
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The confusion about how much red meat is safe to eat intensified last night as Britons were warned they should cut down to reduce the risk of cancer.
Adults will be advised to eat no more than 500g a week – the equivalent of just three rashers of bacon a day.
The new guidelines drawn up by the Department of Health will confuse millions of households over how much red meat is harmful.
Only last week a British Nutrition Foundation study claimed that the majority of adults ate ‘healthy amounts’ of red meat and there was an ‘inconclusive’ link to cancer. But the latest research is expected to warn that although red meat is a valuable source of iron – an essential component of our diets – eating too much can lead to heart disease and cancer.
The guidelines, compiled by the Department of Health’s scientific advisory committee on nutrition, will recommend that adults eat no more than 70g day of red or processed meat a day.
Over a week, this amounts to three sausages, one small steak, one quarter-pounder and three slices of lamb.
According to Mail Online report, research has shown that red meat significantly increases the risk of bowel cancer. It is the second most common form of cancer and affects 36,500 Britons every year.
It has also been linked to heart disease because of its high saturated fat content, type 2 diabetes and other forms of cancer including breast, lung and prostate.
Current guidelines recommend that Britons should eat 90g a day and need to consider cutting back only if they exceed 140g a day.
But the 17 scientists who have drawn up the new research believe these limits are too lenient. Figures show that a third of adults eat more than 100g a day and the researchers fear they are putting themselves at unnecessary risk.
Processed meat can also push up the dangers and research last year showed that just two slices of bacon a day or one sausage can increase the risk of heart disease by half.
But the guidelines will also warn that while some people consume too much red meat, those who eat very little may be at risk of iron deficiency.
Last week, a 77-page review by the British Nutrition Foundation claimed there was ‘no conclusive link’ between cardiovascular disease and red meat, which contains some fatty acids that may protect the heart.

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