If you are a fan of red meat and have a fridge stocked with all kinds of processed meat, you could be seriously putting yourself and your family at risk. The World Health Organization recently caused a stir when then announced on the 26th October that all kinds of processed meat items, including hot dogs, bacon, and sausages, can cause cancer as well as red meat.
This announcement or warning about the link between meat and cancer was made after the International Agency of Research on Cancer (IARC) went through more than 800 studies which concluded there were possible links between cancer and consumption of red or processed meat.
The researches were spread across continents, and involved people from different races who followed different diets. The most common type of cancer caused by red and processed meat is colon cancer.
Consumption of meat had been widely associated with cancer. This is mainly because meat is made up of animal fibers that are hard for the body to digest so it stays inside the intestines for a longer period of time, unless you include ample amounts of fiber in your diet. As meat takes a long time to digest, this allows harmful carcinogenic compounds present in it to cause extensive damage to the inner linings of the intestine, further increasing the risk of colon cancer.
What Are Red And Processed Meat?
Before you start eliminating meat from your diet, it is essential you understand what red and processed meat actually are. As the name indicates, red meat includes meat that is a darker shade of red before it is cooked, including beef, lamb and pork. Processed meat is meat which is not sold fresh. This meat goes through a series of artificial processes to add flavoring or make preservation easier. Processed meat includes your favorite frozen hamburger patties, sausages, salami, pepperoni and hot dogs. This does not, however, include fresh burgers or mince.
Both red meat and processed meat are different from white meat, such as fish, turkey and fresh chicken.
How Does Red Meat And Processed Meat Cause Cancer?
Researches have carried out various studies to find the link between red meat and cancer. Scientists have concluded that cancer is caused because of some chemicals present in red meat.
In red meat, the problem seems to start with a chemical named haem. Haem is a part of hemoglobin, a red pigment in the blood that transports oxygen. An excess of Haem breaks down inside our digestive system and has been found to cause damage to the cells, particularly the bowel lining. Cooking red meat at a high temperature also produces certain chemicals that can be dangerous for our health. Processed meat, on the other hand, goes through a series of processes to add flavoring and prolong preservation so there is no doubt that the artificial chemicals used play a role in causing cancer.
With the new information linking meat and cancer, lowering your consumption of meat and eating fresh food as well as adding a high amount of fiber to your diet will lower your risks of getting the cancers that are plaguing people in America.