The Truth About Red Meat and Cancer May Surprise You

Sonali Kapoor

, Health A2Z

Red meat is a good source of protein, vitamins, and minerals, and can be a part of a balanced diet. But eating a lot of red and processed meat probably increases the risk of bowel (colorectal) cancer. According to the research, eating more than 18 ounces of red meat per week increases the higher risk of colorectal cancers. It contains a lot of protein but there is a link between red meat and cancer.


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According to the World Health Organization, processed meats like- ham, salami, bacon, and frankfurts are categorized as a Group 1 carcinogen which means that there is a piece of strong evidence that processed meats cause cancer. Red meat, such as beef, lamb, mutton, horse goat and pork are some examples. It is classified as a ‘probable’ cause of cancer.


How Red Meat and Cancer are Linked?


Red meat and cancer can link together and increase the risk to our health because it naturally occurring chemicals formed during digestion have been found to damage the cells that line the bowel, which may cause cancer. Red meat contains added nitrates and nitrites which are also broken-down during digestion to form chemicals that can cause cancer


What Counts as Red and Processed Meat?


Red meat includes:


  • Beef


  • Lamb and Mutton


  • Pork


  • Veal


  • Venison


  • Goat


It doesn’t include:


  • Chicken


  • Turkey


  • Duck


  • Goose


  • Game birds


  • Rabbit


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How Much Red and Processed Meat Can We Eat?




If you eat more than 90g of red or processed meat a day, it is recommended you to reduce the intake to 70g a day. You can manage this by eating smaller portions of red and processed meat, eating these meats less often or swapping them for alternatives. In case you are eating more than 90g of red and processed meat on a certain day, you can eat less on the following days.




Children above 5 should eat a balanced diet to enhance the physical as well as mental growth. It includes meat or other sources of protein. As kids don’t need as much food as adults, and the amount they need depends on their age and size.


How to Cutting Down Red Meat and Processed Meat?


With the help of these, you can cut down on red and processed meat by eating smaller portions, and by eating them less often.




Take either the bacon or sausages or extra mushrooms, tomatoes or toast.




Take one of the hams or beef sandwiches with a non-red meat filling, such as chicken or fish.


Pie and chips:


Take the steak pie for chicken pie.




Take the quarter-pound burger for a standard hamburger. Or you can choose a chicken, fish or vegetable burger for a change.




As we have discussed Red Meat and Cancer and its intake count. The best and the easy way to control from this is to start to avoid eating red meat on a regular basis because it makes you unhealthy and sick. If you start feeling any of the above symptoms so consult a doctor as soon as possible.


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