Bacon, beef, and sausages are part of our everyday diet. New studies prove that even a small slice of bacon or beef can increase the risk of colorectal cancer.
The salty crispy bacon and the juicy sausages are a must for a delightful breakfast. Saying no to it is an impossible task. However, no matter how impossible it is going to be, it might be time to say no to these meaty breakfast treats.
According to a new study, eating even a thin slice of bacon or any processed or red meat can lead to an increased risk of colorectal cancer. The research published in the International Journal of Epidemiology found that every 25 grams of processed meat (roughly equivalent to a thin slice of bacon) consumed on a daily basis can increase the risk of colorectal cancer by 20 percent. The risk posed by 50 grams of red meat i.e. a thick slice of roast beef or a small piece of lamb chop, every day was found to be 19 percent.
The study additionally said people who consumed 76 grams of red and processed meat (equals to the quarter-pound beef burger) were found to be at a 20% higher risk of developing colorectal cancer, the risk was much lower in people who consumed only 21 grams of meat every day (which is equivalent to one slice of ham).
"A small amount of processed meat seems to have the same effect as a large amount of red meat," said Professor Tim Key, the co-author of the study and deputy director at the University of Oxford's cancer epidemiology unit to CNN. The study, which examined the diets of nearly half a million UK adults between the age of 40 and 69 for five years, observed that 2,609 of the participants developed colorectal cancer. Cancer Research UK, which partly funded the research, advised people who ate more than 90 grams (cooked weight) of red and processed meat to reduce the consumption to the UK average meat consumption of 70 grams.
According to the American Cancer Society, around 51,020 deaths due to colorectal cancer are expected to occur in 2019. It is the third most common cancer in the US(excluding skin cancers) and the UK. In 2015, the World Health Organization concluded that processed meat as "carcinogenic to humans," and classified red meat as "probably carcinogenic to humans."
Though studies previously conducted proved a link between processed meat and cancer, the new research strengthens the past claims as it has considered the current change in diets among people.
Our results strongly suggest that people who eat red and processed meat four or more times a week have a higher risk of developing bowel cancer than those who eat red and processed meat less than twice a week," said Key to CNN.
Dr. Gunter Kuhnle, associate professor in nutrition and health at the University of Reading in the UK called the recent study the "largest study ever undertaken in the UK." He also added that the results confirm the conclusions made by previous researchers that the consumption of red and processed meat increased the chances for colorectal cancer.
"This study is a reminder that the more you can cut down beyond this, the more you can lower your chances of developing bowel cancer," said Dr. Julie Sharp, head of health information at the charity Cancer Research UK. She also suggested meat-free Mondays and the inclusion of chicken and fish diet to reduce the consumption of red and processed meat.
The research also found that alcohol increased the risk of colorectal cancer while fiber from bread and cereal reduced the risks.