A study printed in the International Journal of Epidemiology has confirmed the link between red and processed meat consumption and incidence of colorectal cancer, as per the experts.
The study which was undertaken by Oxford University and financed by Cancer Research UK offered an insight into the quantum of risk and the level of consumption quantities that increased the risk of colorectal or bowel cancer as it is better known as.
The study which involved analysis of about half a million people spread over a period of six years found 2069 individuals affected by colorectal cancer. As per their estimate, consumption of three bacon rashers per day hiked the bowel cancer risk by 20%. About 40 out of 10,000 people eating 21g of red and processed meat daily were detected with colorectal cancer and this number increased to 48 when the consumption increased to 76g on a daily basis. Processed meat contained in a single bacon rasher amounted to about 23g.
Though the study failed to determine a number as the cut-off level for red meat consumption it showed a link between higher consumption and higher risk level. Department of Health issued a guidance asking people to contain their consumption of processed and red meat to 70g per day.
The benefits of consuming such meat can be obtained only if the consumption quantities were such that they outweighed the risk exposure. Processing and the consequent chemicals involved as well as the methods of cooking such meat increased the cancer risk for eaters.
The study further promoted the consumption of dietary fiber as that helped to bring down the occurrence of bowel cancer and hence, that component had to be encouraged in the daily diet. Several other life style factors such as genetics, age, absence of dietary fiber, high consumption of alcohol and sedentary living also played an important role in determining the risk of bowel cancer.