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Bacon, salami and sausages: How does processed and red meat cause cancer and how much matters?

by Katie Patrick | Analysis

17 March 2021

97 comments 97 comments

Processed meat causes cancer

This post was first published in 2019, but has been reviewed and updated in March 2021.

It’s not new news that processed and red meat are linked to bowel cancer. But in 2019, Cancer Research UK scientists took a closer look at how much meat might be enough to increase bowel cancer risk.

The study, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, looked at whether people who eat an average of 76 grams of processed and red meat a day – approximately 3 slices of ham – are still at increased risk of bowel cancer. This is similar to the average amount people in the UK eat each day, and falls in a somewhat grey area within government guidelines – which state anyone who eats more than 90 grams a day should cut this to no more than 70 grams a day.

The main takeaway from the study was that even moderate meat-eating increases bowel cancer risk. So, what does this mean for a nation famed for its fry ups?

What are ‘red’ and ‘processed’ meat?

First, let’s clear up some definitions.

‘Red’ meat is (as you might expect), any meat that’s a dark red colour before it’s cooked – this obviously means meats like beef and lamb, but also includes pork.

‘Processed’ meat is meat that’s not sold fresh, but instead has been cured, salted, smoked, or otherwise preserved in some way (so things like bacon, sausages, hot dogs, ham, salami, and pepperoni). But this doesn’t include fresh burgers or mince.

Both of these types of meat are distinct from ‘white’ meats, like fresh chicken or turkey, and fish (neither of which appear to increase your risk of cancer).

How do we know processed and red meat cause cancer?

The evidence linking processed and red meat to cancer has been stacking up for over a decade. And in 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) – a group of experts that review and report on research evidence – classified processed meat as a ‘definite’ cause of cancer (or Group 1 carcinogen) – the same group that includes smoking and alcohol. And red meat is a ‘probable’ cause of cancer (or a Group 2a carcinogen) – the same group as night shift work.

Meat and cancer risk

Copy this link and share our graphic. Credit: Cancer Research UK

While this may sound alarming, it’s important to remember that these groups show how confident IARC is that red and processed meat cause cancer, not how many cancer cases they cause, as we wrote when we covered a previous IARC decision on diesel emissions, and interviewed one of our experts in the causes of cancer.

As Professor David Phillips – a Cancer Research UK-funded carcinogen expert from King’s College London – explains, “IARC does ‘hazard identification’, not ‘risk assessment’.

“That sounds quite technical, but what it means is that IARC isn’t in the business of telling us how potent something is in causing cancer – only whether it does so or not”, he says.

To take an analogy, think of banana skins. They definitely can cause accidents, explains Phillips, but in practice this doesn’t happen very often (unless you work in a banana factory). And the sort of harm you can come to from slipping on a banana skin isn’t generally as severe as, say, being in a car accident.

But under a hazard identification system like IARC’s, ‘banana skins’ and ‘cars’ would come under the same category – they both definitely do cause accidents.

To put things in perspective, let’s look at how processed meat stacks up against smoking.

Tobacco vs meat - what's the risk?

Copy this link and share our graphic. Credit: Cancer Research UK

How does processed and red meat cause cancer?

So far, research has linked 3 chemicals to increased bowel cancer risk. These chemicals are either naturally found in meat, added during processing or produced when cooking:

  • haem (a red pigment found mostly in red meat);
  • nitrates and nitrites (used to keep processed meat fresher for longer); and
  • heterocyclic amines and polycyclic amines (produced when meat is cooked at high temperatures)

All 3 can damage the cells in our bowel, and it’s the accumulation of this damage over time that increases cancer risk.

How much matters?

The latest study analysed data from half a million UK adults over almost 7 years and found that moderate processed and red meat eaters – those eating 79g per day on average – had a 32% increased risk of bowel cancer compared to people eating less than 11g of red and processed meat daily.

To put this in context, for every 10,000 people on the study who ate less than 11 grams of red and processed meat a day, 45 were diagnosed with bowel cancer. Eating 79 grams of red and processed meat a day caused 14 extra cases of bowel cancer per 10,000 people. These figures are just for the independent effect of meat consumption, as they take into account other differences between these groups of people, for example sex, deprivation, smoking, physical activity, alcohol intake, other aspects of diet, reproductive factors, and body mass index.

Professor Tim Key, who co-led the recent study and is deputy director at the University of Oxford’s cancer epidemiology unit, says that while the impact of cutting back on processed meat might be smaller than quitting smoking, it’s still important.

“Everyone eats and everyone is at risk of colorectal cancer,” he says. “So any increase in risk makes a difference when we look at the whole population.”

And he sees the results as a reminder for those following government guidelines.

“Current government guidelines suggest if you eat more than 90 grams a day on average you should cut down to 70 grams a day. Our results suggest cutting down a bit more gives slightly lower risk, and are a reminder that there is still an increase in risk for modest intakes of meat.”

Top tips for cutting down

  • Pay attention to your portions – try having 1 sausage instead of 2 or switching half of the meat in your usual dishes for beans or veggies.
  • Have meat free days – pick a day (or days) to have no meat at all.
  • Get out of a recipe rut – look for new recipes that use fresh chicken or fish instead of processed and red meat.

What if I have my bacon sandwich on wholemeal bread?

Having a diet high in fibre, especially wholegrains, found in foods like wholemeal bread or brown rice, and doing lots of physical activity can is associated with lower risk of bowel cancer – so could this mitigate cell damage from eating processed and red meat?

Both fibre and lots of physical activity help us to poo more often, reducing the amount of time harmful chemicals, including those in processed and red meat, spend in the gut. But so far it’s not clear how much difference this could make to the amount of damage in our cells.

Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as balancing out something that increases risk with something that reduces it. Studies take in to account other things that might impact risk, so good studies that show the link between processed and red meat and bowel cancer will note fibre intake and many other factors which can be associated with both cancer risk and meat intake.

What does this mean for me?

The evidence is clear that eating less processed and red meat can help reduce the risk of bowel cancer, the 4th most common cancer in the UK.

Eating less can make a difference, but it’s important to think about doing this as part of a healthy diet overall, along with being active.

“The most important diet related risk factors for cancer are obesity and alcohol, which both increase risk of many types of cancer, and cause more cases than red and processed meat,” says Key.

And he notes that diet has other health impacts beyond bowel cancer risk.

“For example, meat can be an important source of iron so if someone is thinking about giving up meat all together they need to think about other sources of this,” he says.

So, although this evidence doesn’t suggest we need to ditch processed and red meat altogether, it does serve as a reminder to think about how much we’re eating, and how often.

Katie Patrick is a health information officer at Cancer Research UK


    Comments

  • Maria Hulburd
    9 March 2023

    Fantastic source of vital information provided by studies. Love receiving this detail & has totally changed my attitudes to food consumption after a lifetime of dieting & having a gastric bypass 13 years ago. My family members (female siblings, parents, aunts, uncles & grandparents) have unfortunately inherited several different cancers ranging from pancreatic, colorectal, to lymphoma & breast cancer.

  • Sandra Barker
    1 March 2023

    Informational

  • C Jay
    26 August 2021

    We need to do better research than this. What other foods are nitrates and nitrites added to? Which have the most? Why are safe alternatives not used? Why are known carcinogenic additives allowed in food?

  • Debbie
    13 August 2021

    I believe there are other food factors which are being played down . Hormones in milk and cheese and eggs, BPA in plastics leaching Into food, pesticides in fruit and veg. I have had breast.cancer but with so many causes including pollution, genetics etc etc etc how will we ever know what caused our cancer as we are fed information by media what aren’t they really telling us and how many more people will die before we find the real truth. I believe everything which contributes to cancer should be made safer not just blaming us on what we eat when we trust food agencies to feed us healthy foodstuffs.

  • Lyn
    27 April 2021

    Then why has Dr told grandson he must eat plenty of red meat

  • L K
    18 April 2021

    My husband drink like fish and smoke like lum. He eat ham and bacon everyday for his sandwiches. He is a tea drinker with at least 8 – 10 cups a day with teaspoon of sugar each cup. He eat ice cream and chocolate every night. Generally he is healthy. I don’t smoke, drink occasionally, I don’t have sweet tooth and no sugar with my tea and coffee. I eat meat once or 2x a week and I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. What a joke!!!

  • Helen Mullineux
    11 April 2021

    Very interesting. I wish I have heard this sooner – I have had bowel cancer though I don’t smoke and haven’t had alcohol for 5 years. I am now having chemotherapy to prevent the cancer’s return. I have also had bladder cancer and do not know the causes of that.

  • Catherine
    11 April 2021

    Fantastic news very informative positive out look

  • Patrick Wynne-Jones
    10 April 2021

    A most useful analysis and guidelines. Will inform my future meat-eating volumers and selection

  • Marion Peel
    10 April 2021

    I have found this email very interesting as I had Colon cancer in 2017. I never eat beef, lamb or pork/ham but wonder if venison, pheasant, duck etc count as red meats as they are never mentioned.

  • Shirley Harrison
    10 April 2021

    Very informative and easy to understand especially the practical advice on cutting down. I think the message should be put out in the public domain as for the cancer implications of smoking

  • Angela Deighton
    8 April 2021

    Extremely useful and informative. I’ve learnt a lot. Keep up the good work!

  • group dating
    20 October 2019

    obviously like your website however you have to take a look at the
    spelling on quite a few of your posts. Many of them are rife with spelling issues and I find
    it very troublesome to tell the truth nevertheless I’ll certainly come back again.

  • Mrs Violet Marsh
    9 October 2019

    I had bowel cancer in 1982. I don’t eat red meat I eat chicken and plenty of veg and salad. Plus cheese and berries and natural yogurt.
    The last 3 weeks I have been on Dr.Unwin diet. High fat lot carbs. I have lost 3lbs in weight, I am 90 years old.

  • Dr Peter Lewis
    1 October 2019

    please read the new research (published yesterday in Annals of medicine) on the very low likelihood of red meat causing any cancers! You have been misleading the public and should apologise now…

  • Louise
    18 June 2019

    This may be a silly question but I have been wondering if the same applies to vegetarian ‘meats’. For example, quorn make a range of sandwich filler fake meat such as chicken-style slices, bacon-style slices etc. Do these count as processed and contribute to cancer risk? I’ve tried to switch to more veggie alternatives but I’m wondering if they actually reduce your risks?

  • reply
    Katie Roberts
    20 June 2019

    Hi Louise,

    Thanks for your question about meat alternatives. Vegetarian meat substitutes don’t count as processed meat and there’s no good evidence linking them to cancer. These products can be helpful for people trying to cut down on meat, but they aren’t always healthy and can be high in salt. So it’s a good idea to look for ones with mostly or all green on the label and think about using other vegetarian sources of protein including pulses, like lentils and beans, and eggs.

    Best wishes,

    Katie, Cancer Research UK

  • Richard Feinman
    8 June 2019

    increased absolute risk of 0.08 %. Does anybody believe that the determination of individual diets was in the same ballpark of accuracy. And of course we are sure that the covered all the hundreds of confounders. Most important result is the need for science education for doctors and nutritionists. Or do I mean psychotherapy?

  • Ana
    31 May 2019

    Does eating organic meat make a difference?

  • reply
    Katie Roberts
    13 June 2019

    Hi Ana,

    Thanks for your question about if organic meat makes a difference. More expensive or organic processed and red meat is not necessarily any healthier, so it’s better to cut down altogether rather than to switch to these. Instead, try swapping to fresh fish, fresh chicken or pulses like lentils and beans.

    Best wishes,

    Katie, Cancer Research UK

  • Suen Oswell
    23 May 2019

    that didn’t answer my question

  • Susan Oswell
    23 May 2019

    What about smoked fish?

  • reply
    Katie Roberts
    13 June 2019

    Hi Susan,

    Thanks for your question about smoked fish. The strongest evidence for foods that increase the risk of bowel cancer is for processed red meats, like bacon or salami. But any meat or fish that has been altered in some way to either extend shelf life or add flavour – including curing, smoking, salting and the addition of chemicals – counts as processed.

    Best wishes,

    Katie, Cancer Research UK

  • Sallyann
    17 May 2019

    I believe sugar is more damaging than red meat. If only they would feed the animals what is natural for them to eat instead money is more important than our health. Red meat has been eaten for a very long time, admittedly we eat a lot more than we used to. but it is the way animals are feed now.

  • ProfMills
    16 May 2019

    Katie, thanks for your reply.

    “Meats that have been transformed to either extend shelf life or add flavour count as processed. This includes things like curing, smoking, salting and the addition of chemicals such as nitrates or nitrites. Red meat includes things like fresh, minced and frozen beef, lamb and pork.”

    According to this definition, fresh meat sausages are red meat not processed. Could the article’s title be corrected as it implies otherwise?

    An EPIC study (DOI: 10.1186/1741-7015-11-63) found that “Significant associations with processed meat intake were observed for cardiovascular diseases, cancer ..” BUT “red meat intake was [not] associated with mortality”.

    As red meat isn’t linked to cancer, could remove references to red meat be removed from this article?

  • Doug Bristor
    14 May 2019

    CRUK are so meat apologist. “Cutting down can make a difference, BUT it’s important to think about doing this as part of a healthy diet overall…..” Processed meat has strong correlation to obesity. Carcinogens don’t just stop in the bowel, they get absorbed around the body causing dna damage. Grrrr.

  • Carole Smith
    14 May 2019

    Regularly support cancer research uk and receive their magazine etc. I was aware of the links between red and processed meats and cancer but did not realise just how strong those links were. I’ll be cutting down!

  • Sue
    12 May 2019

    I notice that your research found that 40 people out of every 10,000 who eat 21g a day of red and processed meat get bowel cancer. Could you tell me how many people in 10,000, who eat no meat at all, get bowel cancer? Thank you.

  • reply
    Katie Roberts
    20 May 2019

    Hello Sue, thanks for your question about people who don’t eat any meat at all. In this study, people who didn’t eat any meat would have been included in the lowest category of meat consumption (those who ate less than 21g of red and processed meat a day), but this study didn’t directly compare vegetarians and vegans to meat eaters.
    Katie, Cancer Research UK

  • flamingoflare
    12 May 2019

    I have recently been reading the china study and it is an eye opener understanding how diet causes most of our current chronic illlnesses and diseases. Its nice to have information to empower people, rather than confuse and leave them helpless over thier ailments. Also On netflix the folks over knives documentary and the what the health documentary shows snipests of the findings within the china study. Very empowering documentaries!

  • Stephen
    12 May 2019

    It may be true that there is a 20% increase in developing bowel cancer by eating 70g rather than 25g of red or processed meat but this is grossly misleading as the actual difference is only 0.08% from your own published figures.
    Is it not about time that cancer research embraced all types of therapies including natural substances I.e not chemically manufactured endorsed by the FDA as there has been no real advancement in cancer treatment (not detection) since the 1940’s instead of pursuing meaningless studies like this.

  • Amanda Dworak
    12 May 2019

    An informative article, thank you. Should bacon carry a health warning on the package as do cigarettes ?

  • Kezz Williams
    11 May 2019

    Very interesting, I will definitely stop red meat although it’s a little to late . I have colorectal cancer , I didn’t eat a lot of red meat , mainly fish and chicken and veg, but quite a lot of alcohol.x

  • Shop Girl
    10 May 2019

    Excellent clear piece for communicating with the general public, from a genuinely expert source in the field.

  • Alan Maclean
    10 May 2019

    I am a cancer survivor have been free of cancer for coming up on 7years after having bowel cancer which spread to my liver and lung.I never eat sausages bacon I still eat read meat but not regularly I am one of the lucky ones.

  • Mary Cowells
    10 May 2019

    This is definitely a know thought to absorb. Learning more about meat consumption and how it can cause cancer to our body, meat consumption must lessen to the required amount of red meat and processed meat consumption a day.

  • Shirley Morse
    9 May 2019

    This was very interesting as I have just returned from a short holiday in Germany where we were served processed meat (salami, etc) for breakfast every morning. Is there a higher incidence of bowel cancer in Germany?

  • Katie Patrick
    9 May 2019

    Hi everyone,

    Thanks for all your comments. We’ve seen a few similar questions appear multiple times, so we’ve tried to address those comments below.

    Meats that have been transformed to either extend shelf life or add flavour count as processed. This includes things like curing, smoking, salting and the addition of chemicals such as nitrates or nitrites. Red meat includes things like fresh, minced and frozen beef, lamb and pork.

    So far, the main ways these meats are thought to cause cancer are due to chemicals, both naturally occurring and added, with the key culprits being nitrates and nitrites. So although it’s good to see some food companies looking at ways they can eliminate nitrates and nitrites, these products can still be processed and red meat. So rather than scanning ingredients lists or looking for less harmful processed meats, the best thing to think about is how you can reduce how much of these foods you’re having. And there are plenty of other options to switch to such as fresh chicken, fish, or pulses like beans or lentils.

    The evidence showing the link between processed meat and bowel cancer has looked at lots of different countries and populations, for example the EPIC study in European countries, and found an increased risk. The research also shows the more you eat the greater the increased risk. But it’s important to remember that the rest of the diet, as well as other factors like smoking, varies between countries, making it difficult to draw conclusions from bowel cancer incidence in different countries with different levels of processed meat consumption.

    There’s no evidence to suggest preservatives in wine are linked to an increased risk of cancer. But there is strong evidence that alcohol, in all its forms, can cause cancer. The less alcohol you drink the more you reduce your risk, so making some small changes, like having alcohol free days or making your usual a small, can all add up and make a difference.

    Katie, Cancer Research UK

  • Chris Bow
    9 May 2019

    Very thought-provoking but the article omits important reference data. What is the incidence of bowel cancer in persons who eat neither red nor processed meat?. Without this information, one cannot form a balanced view of the risk. Furthermore, at around 0.4/0.5%, the risk of eating even 76 grams of meat doesn’t seem very high. We are not given any figures on how it compares with the risk from smoking/obesity (other than being told it is much higher), which would be helpful.

  • Keith Ginger
    8 May 2019

    Yes I believe there is significant risk.

  • Deb Coburn
    8 May 2019

    excellent article… clear, understandable & compelling

  • DocMills
    7 May 2019

    This article is confusing and confused.

    The title suggests it’s a look at processed meat but regularly mentions red meat, when CRUK’s own research recently found that red meat alone was not linked to colon cancer. And why are fresh meat sausages bundled in with preserved meat hot-dogs but not fresh meat burgers? And you don’t discuss the (poor) quality of the evidence, which is mostly based on recall-biased cased-controlled cohorts and unable-to-recall Food Frequency Questionnaires (“What did you eat last year?” – Biobank asked this!).

    The evidence is far from clear!

  • sheena ferguson
    6 May 2019

    Think it is interesting hearing results of recent research .

  • Brian Piper
    6 May 2019

    As a busy person I don’t have much time to ascertain which foods to avoid. A list put out regularly on new emails would be very helpful.

  • marek grabovski
    6 May 2019

    i have for a long time now eaten far more chicken & fish than red meat, & having read this article i will consume less & less red & processed meat until i can avoid it all together

  • Maggi Fuller
    6 May 2019

    The Italian diet has long been recognised as one of the healthiest in the world, yet the average Italian must eat processed salami & sausage every day…. How do their figures for bowel cancer stack up to ours and the rest of Europe?

  • Ann
    6 May 2019

    I don’t eat much red meat but I do eat a lot of chicken and sometimes fish. The information I have just read was very interesting.

  • Angela Mitchell
    6 May 2019

    A very interesting read and very informative. Will definitely try and cut out my ham sandwiches and have an alternative. I didn’t realise the strong link to bowel cancer and processed and red meat.

  • Nigel Paterson
    6 May 2019

    Reducing red/smoked meat is relatively easy, but veg/pulse substitutes are not when you have Diverticulitis.

  • Linda Ferguson
    6 May 2019

    Brilliant reports giving lots of information from reliable sources that can be trusted

  • Jane Clark
    6 May 2019

    informative which gives you facts not hype from the media sources. I will reduce my red meat intake. However, I wonder how red meat eating countries such as France and Argentina fare in trials such as these.

  • Vivienne Jones
    6 May 2019

    I didn’t realise there was such a strong link between processed meat and bowel cancer

  • Brian Eaton
    6 May 2019

    Very clear and informative article, I was aware of the link between red meat and cancer but it is good that this message is reinforced.

  • Jennifer Yates
    6 May 2019

    thought provoking & habit changing information

  • Anthony bickerdike
    6 May 2019

    Clear, informative and well written article that covered what I wanted to know from the headline.

  • John Crawford
    6 May 2019

    It’s good to have suspicions confirmed

  • Mrs Patricia Yates
    6 May 2019

    I’m one of six sisters, I’ve lost one sister to bowel cancer and another has just been diagnosed stage four with bowel because bf the primary, my doctor has advised me regarding red and processed meats, I’ve made changes to my diet and hope it’s not too late, I’m 67.

  • Captain D G Petvin
    6 May 2019

    Good advice

  • Captain D G Petvin
    6 May 2019

    Very pleased to be getting this advice.

  • Anne Bklack
    6 May 2019

    Useful info in the confusing world of how diet affects our risks of cancer but good to note the gaps that may be caused by diet changes

  • Ali Hunter
    6 May 2019

    Hugely informative in layman’s terms

  • Sarah George
    6 May 2019

    I’m interested in recent research results

  • Paddy Kane
    5 May 2019

    Interesting studies, but is it not the chemicals used to process these meats more than just red meat. Our bodies are bombarded with pollutants and chemicals throughout our lives and even before we are born. Is there any wonder our cells mutate and die. Our bodies weren’t meant to absorb poisons and pollutants.

  • John Gomme
    5 May 2019

    This has made me think seriously about the amount of processed and red meat I have in my diet. The amount I currently eat now worries me to the point of making me seek an alternative diet

  • Val Hemmings
    5 May 2019

    Thank you for all the research and information

  • Ian Turner
    5 May 2019

    I’m confused as to what is the difference between processed food say a sausage and just pork. What is the processing that makes it worse?

  • Sylvie
    5 May 2019

    frightening such a small amount, have people who have had cancer at a higher risk.

  • david tabb
    5 May 2019

    Really useful

  • Paz
    5 May 2019

    Germany and other European countries are renowned for their cured meats. I wondered if they have the same national case rates as the UK and if Mediterreanian countries have lower ones due to the use of olive oil in their diet.

  • Dave Knight
    5 May 2019

    I am waiting (a long time) for a hernia operation. This has meant “impacting” of faeces. producing very solid and difficult to pass solids. I did a bowel self test about 18 months ago which was clear. Would this increase problem however? In a very mixed diet I do not eat red meat every day.

  • Rebecca Watkins
    5 May 2019

    If you opt for the nitrate and nitrite free bacon now available is this ok or could it still have the same effect?

  • nicola green
    5 May 2019

    Why is your advice on a cancer research website only to cut down processed and red meat. Surely the headline should be “don’t eat it”. You have just said they are in group 1 and cause cancer. This leaves people feeling confused and that it is ok to eat it.

  • Josephine
    5 May 2019

    What about sulphites in wine do they have the same effect?

  • Susan
    4 May 2019

    I have cut my red meat to once per week but I really do not enjoy eating it , this was a consequence if being part of a group called Care Across

  • Martyn Elton
    4 May 2019

    I feel strongly, now the link between processed meat (and more than likely red meat) os beyond doubt Cancer Research should be promoting a stronger, clearer, message to the general public. I understand there is a vast, powerful, industry prohibiting this, but nevertheless I feel you are only hope.

  • Elaine
    4 May 2019

    It is frightening to see it laid out bare. What with climate change, blood pressure warnings, it is very timely

  • Sheila Douglas
    4 May 2019

    A very good article it certainly shows the part red meat has on our bowel. Luckily I hardly eat red meat. I wonder if it affects other cancers both my sons have been diagnosed with prostate cancer within a few months of each other . I wonder if their diet contributed to this

  • Peter Lange
    4 May 2019

    Very useful

  • Pete
    4 May 2019

    I’ve recently tried to reduce my red meat intake to no more than 100g a week (essentially one day per week) and limit processed meat intake to the very odd occasion (you know, because I still enjoy my bacon and chorizo!). It’s easier than you might think to find alternative sources of protein and still get the other nutrients required for a healthy balanced diet all while reducing bowel cancer risk at the same time. My fruit and veg intake has gone right up which can only be a good thing right?

  • Hitesh Gami
    4 May 2019

    Informative up to date news on most common cancers. Sadly not on my particular disease

  • Dawn
    4 May 2019

    Excellent informative article easy to understand -I very rarely consume red meat and have pretty much stopped buying processed meats -apart from occasionally buying “Naked bacon ” (which contains no nitrites or nitrates)as a treat about once a month

  • Elizabeth
    4 May 2019

    This article has really helped me realise how serious the connection is and I am now considering cutting red meat out of my diet altogether to avoid the risk.

  • Tiffany
    4 May 2019

    As a bowel cancer survivor at the age of 38 and mum of two young children at the time (I’m now 51, my mum also had bowel cancer at 67) and survived, both of us left with shorter bowels) I eat eat virtually no processed or red meat. As a consultant told my husband (his father died of bowel cancer) when he had a polyp removed from his bowel: ‘Leave red meat for birthdays, Christmas and when friends come round’, and sometimes we don’t even eat it then. A couple of years ago, we convinced our local butcher to start producing some of their bacon without preservatives. Now all of their sausages and bacon are produced this way. Our meals are now either vegetarian, vegan, a bit of fish and chicken, with the very occasional red meat, but we don’t look back.

  • Keiley Owens
    3 May 2019

    The government should ban all of the harmful additives that are put into our food. We pay enough money for them . I’m going to buy more fish and chicken to make meals even though I do love a crispy bacon sarnie ha

  • Elizabeth Hamley
    3 May 2019

    Good to see the research and comparative risks. I might eat a bit less ham and red meat but at least I can balance the risks, and if I don’t want to deprive myself of enjoyable food, well no one else to blame if I’m one of the unlucky,

  • Gordon Ellis
    3 May 2019

    I recently bought Chicken chippolatas – not red meat but processed I suppose – I can’t win – will continue with lots of veg and fruit and granary bread.

  • Fergus McGhee
    3 May 2019

    I am pleased that the charity issues these scientific and medical facts.

  • Billy Harrington
    3 May 2019

    *According to the data shown, if you eat 76g of red or processed meat per day, you will only have a 0.76% chance of getting cancer.

  • Linda Harris
    3 May 2019

    We all need to eat a balanced diet with lots of fruit and veg, be more active and tackle obesity. Some people don’t know how to change, they need help and advice

  • Alan Baker
    3 May 2019

    The Company’s that are putting these chemicals in our food should be made to stop the government should take a stand on this ban the chemicals ban use by dates and all the plastic packages and go back to buying our meats and cooked meats fresh over the counter we never had all these problems years ago (or did we)

  • Carol
    3 May 2019

    Very informative

  • John McAlley
    3 May 2019

    I think that ‘Government Advice’ has lost value, more so recently due to the lack of integrity of our MPs during the brexit debate! Also research and studies never give conclusive evidence, most seem biased to the result searched for and never give positive provable evidence that the people can understand and believe in.
    Sorry to be so negative but to much information turns out to be wrong later.

  • Jane
    3 May 2019

    My mother died of bowel cancer in 1977 age 65 but she ate very little red meat and a huge amount of vegetables from the garden. Your article informed me that there are other factors involved. I don’t eat much red meat but do use processed meat for sandwiches so I shall reduce this although I do understand that for the amount I eat the risk is not high.

  • Jenny
    3 May 2019

    All the information recently has made me massively review the types of food I am feeding my family! Thank you cancer research for allowing me to make the change before it’s too late!

  • Guy Jubb
    3 May 2019

    The top tips are useful action points to put into practice.

    The visuals alerted me to pork (and lamb) being a red meat – I hadn’t realised that before.

  • Sally
    3 May 2019

    Having had cancer and my Dad dying of cancer at a young age I find your cancer blogs very informative especially with so much hype in the media

  • Gordon Rhobertson
    3 May 2019

    reasonable article

  • Colin Buchan
    30 April 2019

    Go Vegan

  • Dave
    27 April 2019

    Strongly suggest a careful read of this article to understand why meat, the food with which we have the longest evolutionary history, is not the culprit in cancer. https://chriskresser.com/red-meat-cancer-again-will-it-ever-stop/

  • Dave
    27 April 2019

    Never will you see an article claiming donuts or cookies or candy or pie or other blood glucose boosters cause cancer, yet the best evidence confirms exactly that. Meat is decentralized, low-margin food. A box of cornflakes that retails for $3 contains 3 cents worth of corn. That’s why the anti-meat stuff never goes away, and carbs are pushed relentlessly.

  • DocMills
    26 April 2019

    This article is confusing and confused.

    The title suggests a look at processed meat but regularly mentions red meat. CRUK’s recent research found that red meat alone was not linked to colon cancer. And why are fresh meat sausages but not fresh meat burgers bundled in with preserved meat hot-dogs? And you’ve not discussed the quality of the evidence, which is mostly based on recall-biased cased-controlled cohorts and unable-to-recall Food Frequency Questionnaires (“What did you eat last week?”).

    The evidence is far from clear!

    Comments

  • Maria Hulburd
    9 March 2023

    Fantastic source of vital information provided by studies. Love receiving this detail & has totally changed my attitudes to food consumption after a lifetime of dieting & having a gastric bypass 13 years ago. My family members (female siblings, parents, aunts, uncles & grandparents) have unfortunately inherited several different cancers ranging from pancreatic, colorectal, to lymphoma & breast cancer.

  • Sandra Barker
    1 March 2023

    Informational

  • C Jay
    26 August 2021

    We need to do better research than this. What other foods are nitrates and nitrites added to? Which have the most? Why are safe alternatives not used? Why are known carcinogenic additives allowed in food?

  • Debbie
    13 August 2021

    I believe there are other food factors which are being played down . Hormones in milk and cheese and eggs, BPA in plastics leaching Into food, pesticides in fruit and veg. I have had breast.cancer but with so many causes including pollution, genetics etc etc etc how will we ever know what caused our cancer as we are fed information by media what aren’t they really telling us and how many more people will die before we find the real truth. I believe everything which contributes to cancer should be made safer not just blaming us on what we eat when we trust food agencies to feed us healthy foodstuffs.

  • Lyn
    27 April 2021

    Then why has Dr told grandson he must eat plenty of red meat

  • L K
    18 April 2021

    My husband drink like fish and smoke like lum. He eat ham and bacon everyday for his sandwiches. He is a tea drinker with at least 8 – 10 cups a day with teaspoon of sugar each cup. He eat ice cream and chocolate every night. Generally he is healthy. I don’t smoke, drink occasionally, I don’t have sweet tooth and no sugar with my tea and coffee. I eat meat once or 2x a week and I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. What a joke!!!

  • Helen Mullineux
    11 April 2021

    Very interesting. I wish I have heard this sooner – I have had bowel cancer though I don’t smoke and haven’t had alcohol for 5 years. I am now having chemotherapy to prevent the cancer’s return. I have also had bladder cancer and do not know the causes of that.

  • Catherine
    11 April 2021

    Fantastic news very informative positive out look

  • Patrick Wynne-Jones
    10 April 2021

    A most useful analysis and guidelines. Will inform my future meat-eating volumers and selection

  • Marion Peel
    10 April 2021

    I have found this email very interesting as I had Colon cancer in 2017. I never eat beef, lamb or pork/ham but wonder if venison, pheasant, duck etc count as red meats as they are never mentioned.

  • Shirley Harrison
    10 April 2021

    Very informative and easy to understand especially the practical advice on cutting down. I think the message should be put out in the public domain as for the cancer implications of smoking

  • Angela Deighton
    8 April 2021

    Extremely useful and informative. I’ve learnt a lot. Keep up the good work!

  • group dating
    20 October 2019

    obviously like your website however you have to take a look at the
    spelling on quite a few of your posts. Many of them are rife with spelling issues and I find
    it very troublesome to tell the truth nevertheless I’ll certainly come back again.

  • Mrs Violet Marsh
    9 October 2019

    I had bowel cancer in 1982. I don’t eat red meat I eat chicken and plenty of veg and salad. Plus cheese and berries and natural yogurt.
    The last 3 weeks I have been on Dr.Unwin diet. High fat lot carbs. I have lost 3lbs in weight, I am 90 years old.

  • Dr Peter Lewis
    1 October 2019

    please read the new research (published yesterday in Annals of medicine) on the very low likelihood of red meat causing any cancers! You have been misleading the public and should apologise now…

  • Louise
    18 June 2019

    This may be a silly question but I have been wondering if the same applies to vegetarian ‘meats’. For example, quorn make a range of sandwich filler fake meat such as chicken-style slices, bacon-style slices etc. Do these count as processed and contribute to cancer risk? I’ve tried to switch to more veggie alternatives but I’m wondering if they actually reduce your risks?

  • reply
    Katie Roberts
    20 June 2019

    Hi Louise,

    Thanks for your question about meat alternatives. Vegetarian meat substitutes don’t count as processed meat and there’s no good evidence linking them to cancer. These products can be helpful for people trying to cut down on meat, but they aren’t always healthy and can be high in salt. So it’s a good idea to look for ones with mostly or all green on the label and think about using other vegetarian sources of protein including pulses, like lentils and beans, and eggs.

    Best wishes,

    Katie, Cancer Research UK

  • Richard Feinman
    8 June 2019

    increased absolute risk of 0.08 %. Does anybody believe that the determination of individual diets was in the same ballpark of accuracy. And of course we are sure that the covered all the hundreds of confounders. Most important result is the need for science education for doctors and nutritionists. Or do I mean psychotherapy?

  • Ana
    31 May 2019

    Does eating organic meat make a difference?

  • reply
    Katie Roberts
    13 June 2019

    Hi Ana,

    Thanks for your question about if organic meat makes a difference. More expensive or organic processed and red meat is not necessarily any healthier, so it’s better to cut down altogether rather than to switch to these. Instead, try swapping to fresh fish, fresh chicken or pulses like lentils and beans.

    Best wishes,

    Katie, Cancer Research UK

  • Suen Oswell
    23 May 2019

    that didn’t answer my question

  • Susan Oswell
    23 May 2019

    What about smoked fish?

  • reply
    Katie Roberts
    13 June 2019

    Hi Susan,

    Thanks for your question about smoked fish. The strongest evidence for foods that increase the risk of bowel cancer is for processed red meats, like bacon or salami. But any meat or fish that has been altered in some way to either extend shelf life or add flavour – including curing, smoking, salting and the addition of chemicals – counts as processed.

    Best wishes,

    Katie, Cancer Research UK

  • Sallyann
    17 May 2019

    I believe sugar is more damaging than red meat. If only they would feed the animals what is natural for them to eat instead money is more important than our health. Red meat has been eaten for a very long time, admittedly we eat a lot more than we used to. but it is the way animals are feed now.

  • ProfMills
    16 May 2019

    Katie, thanks for your reply.

    “Meats that have been transformed to either extend shelf life or add flavour count as processed. This includes things like curing, smoking, salting and the addition of chemicals such as nitrates or nitrites. Red meat includes things like fresh, minced and frozen beef, lamb and pork.”

    According to this definition, fresh meat sausages are red meat not processed. Could the article’s title be corrected as it implies otherwise?

    An EPIC study (DOI: 10.1186/1741-7015-11-63) found that “Significant associations with processed meat intake were observed for cardiovascular diseases, cancer ..” BUT “red meat intake was [not] associated with mortality”.

    As red meat isn’t linked to cancer, could remove references to red meat be removed from this article?

  • Doug Bristor
    14 May 2019

    CRUK are so meat apologist. “Cutting down can make a difference, BUT it’s important to think about doing this as part of a healthy diet overall…..” Processed meat has strong correlation to obesity. Carcinogens don’t just stop in the bowel, they get absorbed around the body causing dna damage. Grrrr.

  • Carole Smith
    14 May 2019

    Regularly support cancer research uk and receive their magazine etc. I was aware of the links between red and processed meats and cancer but did not realise just how strong those links were. I’ll be cutting down!

  • Sue
    12 May 2019

    I notice that your research found that 40 people out of every 10,000 who eat 21g a day of red and processed meat get bowel cancer. Could you tell me how many people in 10,000, who eat no meat at all, get bowel cancer? Thank you.

  • reply
    Katie Roberts
    20 May 2019

    Hello Sue, thanks for your question about people who don’t eat any meat at all. In this study, people who didn’t eat any meat would have been included in the lowest category of meat consumption (those who ate less than 21g of red and processed meat a day), but this study didn’t directly compare vegetarians and vegans to meat eaters.
    Katie, Cancer Research UK

  • flamingoflare
    12 May 2019

    I have recently been reading the china study and it is an eye opener understanding how diet causes most of our current chronic illlnesses and diseases. Its nice to have information to empower people, rather than confuse and leave them helpless over thier ailments. Also On netflix the folks over knives documentary and the what the health documentary shows snipests of the findings within the china study. Very empowering documentaries!

  • Stephen
    12 May 2019

    It may be true that there is a 20% increase in developing bowel cancer by eating 70g rather than 25g of red or processed meat but this is grossly misleading as the actual difference is only 0.08% from your own published figures.
    Is it not about time that cancer research embraced all types of therapies including natural substances I.e not chemically manufactured endorsed by the FDA as there has been no real advancement in cancer treatment (not detection) since the 1940’s instead of pursuing meaningless studies like this.

  • Amanda Dworak
    12 May 2019

    An informative article, thank you. Should bacon carry a health warning on the package as do cigarettes ?

  • Kezz Williams
    11 May 2019

    Very interesting, I will definitely stop red meat although it’s a little to late . I have colorectal cancer , I didn’t eat a lot of red meat , mainly fish and chicken and veg, but quite a lot of alcohol.x

  • Shop Girl
    10 May 2019

    Excellent clear piece for communicating with the general public, from a genuinely expert source in the field.

  • Alan Maclean
    10 May 2019

    I am a cancer survivor have been free of cancer for coming up on 7years after having bowel cancer which spread to my liver and lung.I never eat sausages bacon I still eat read meat but not regularly I am one of the lucky ones.

  • Mary Cowells
    10 May 2019

    This is definitely a know thought to absorb. Learning more about meat consumption and how it can cause cancer to our body, meat consumption must lessen to the required amount of red meat and processed meat consumption a day.

  • Shirley Morse
    9 May 2019

    This was very interesting as I have just returned from a short holiday in Germany where we were served processed meat (salami, etc) for breakfast every morning. Is there a higher incidence of bowel cancer in Germany?

  • Katie Patrick
    9 May 2019

    Hi everyone,

    Thanks for all your comments. We’ve seen a few similar questions appear multiple times, so we’ve tried to address those comments below.

    Meats that have been transformed to either extend shelf life or add flavour count as processed. This includes things like curing, smoking, salting and the addition of chemicals such as nitrates or nitrites. Red meat includes things like fresh, minced and frozen beef, lamb and pork.

    So far, the main ways these meats are thought to cause cancer are due to chemicals, both naturally occurring and added, with the key culprits being nitrates and nitrites. So although it’s good to see some food companies looking at ways they can eliminate nitrates and nitrites, these products can still be processed and red meat. So rather than scanning ingredients lists or looking for less harmful processed meats, the best thing to think about is how you can reduce how much of these foods you’re having. And there are plenty of other options to switch to such as fresh chicken, fish, or pulses like beans or lentils.

    The evidence showing the link between processed meat and bowel cancer has looked at lots of different countries and populations, for example the EPIC study in European countries, and found an increased risk. The research also shows the more you eat the greater the increased risk. But it’s important to remember that the rest of the diet, as well as other factors like smoking, varies between countries, making it difficult to draw conclusions from bowel cancer incidence in different countries with different levels of processed meat consumption.

    There’s no evidence to suggest preservatives in wine are linked to an increased risk of cancer. But there is strong evidence that alcohol, in all its forms, can cause cancer. The less alcohol you drink the more you reduce your risk, so making some small changes, like having alcohol free days or making your usual a small, can all add up and make a difference.

    Katie, Cancer Research UK

  • Chris Bow
    9 May 2019

    Very thought-provoking but the article omits important reference data. What is the incidence of bowel cancer in persons who eat neither red nor processed meat?. Without this information, one cannot form a balanced view of the risk. Furthermore, at around 0.4/0.5%, the risk of eating even 76 grams of meat doesn’t seem very high. We are not given any figures on how it compares with the risk from smoking/obesity (other than being told it is much higher), which would be helpful.

  • Keith Ginger
    8 May 2019

    Yes I believe there is significant risk.

  • Deb Coburn
    8 May 2019

    excellent article… clear, understandable & compelling

  • DocMills
    7 May 2019

    This article is confusing and confused.

    The title suggests it’s a look at processed meat but regularly mentions red meat, when CRUK’s own research recently found that red meat alone was not linked to colon cancer. And why are fresh meat sausages bundled in with preserved meat hot-dogs but not fresh meat burgers? And you don’t discuss the (poor) quality of the evidence, which is mostly based on recall-biased cased-controlled cohorts and unable-to-recall Food Frequency Questionnaires (“What did you eat last year?” – Biobank asked this!).

    The evidence is far from clear!

  • sheena ferguson
    6 May 2019

    Think it is interesting hearing results of recent research .

  • Brian Piper
    6 May 2019

    As a busy person I don’t have much time to ascertain which foods to avoid. A list put out regularly on new emails would be very helpful.

  • marek grabovski
    6 May 2019

    i have for a long time now eaten far more chicken & fish than red meat, & having read this article i will consume less & less red & processed meat until i can avoid it all together

  • Maggi Fuller
    6 May 2019

    The Italian diet has long been recognised as one of the healthiest in the world, yet the average Italian must eat processed salami & sausage every day…. How do their figures for bowel cancer stack up to ours and the rest of Europe?

  • Ann
    6 May 2019

    I don’t eat much red meat but I do eat a lot of chicken and sometimes fish. The information I have just read was very interesting.

  • Angela Mitchell
    6 May 2019

    A very interesting read and very informative. Will definitely try and cut out my ham sandwiches and have an alternative. I didn’t realise the strong link to bowel cancer and processed and red meat.

  • Nigel Paterson
    6 May 2019

    Reducing red/smoked meat is relatively easy, but veg/pulse substitutes are not when you have Diverticulitis.

  • Linda Ferguson
    6 May 2019

    Brilliant reports giving lots of information from reliable sources that can be trusted

  • Jane Clark
    6 May 2019

    informative which gives you facts not hype from the media sources. I will reduce my red meat intake. However, I wonder how red meat eating countries such as France and Argentina fare in trials such as these.

  • Vivienne Jones
    6 May 2019

    I didn’t realise there was such a strong link between processed meat and bowel cancer

  • Brian Eaton
    6 May 2019

    Very clear and informative article, I was aware of the link between red meat and cancer but it is good that this message is reinforced.

  • Jennifer Yates
    6 May 2019

    thought provoking & habit changing information

  • Anthony bickerdike
    6 May 2019

    Clear, informative and well written article that covered what I wanted to know from the headline.

  • John Crawford
    6 May 2019

    It’s good to have suspicions confirmed

  • Mrs Patricia Yates
    6 May 2019

    I’m one of six sisters, I’ve lost one sister to bowel cancer and another has just been diagnosed stage four with bowel because bf the primary, my doctor has advised me regarding red and processed meats, I’ve made changes to my diet and hope it’s not too late, I’m 67.

  • Captain D G Petvin
    6 May 2019

    Good advice

  • Captain D G Petvin
    6 May 2019

    Very pleased to be getting this advice.

  • Anne Bklack
    6 May 2019

    Useful info in the confusing world of how diet affects our risks of cancer but good to note the gaps that may be caused by diet changes

  • Ali Hunter
    6 May 2019

    Hugely informative in layman’s terms

  • Sarah George
    6 May 2019

    I’m interested in recent research results

  • Paddy Kane
    5 May 2019

    Interesting studies, but is it not the chemicals used to process these meats more than just red meat. Our bodies are bombarded with pollutants and chemicals throughout our lives and even before we are born. Is there any wonder our cells mutate and die. Our bodies weren’t meant to absorb poisons and pollutants.

  • John Gomme
    5 May 2019

    This has made me think seriously about the amount of processed and red meat I have in my diet. The amount I currently eat now worries me to the point of making me seek an alternative diet

  • Val Hemmings
    5 May 2019

    Thank you for all the research and information

  • Ian Turner
    5 May 2019

    I’m confused as to what is the difference between processed food say a sausage and just pork. What is the processing that makes it worse?

  • Sylvie
    5 May 2019

    frightening such a small amount, have people who have had cancer at a higher risk.

  • david tabb
    5 May 2019

    Really useful

  • Paz
    5 May 2019

    Germany and other European countries are renowned for their cured meats. I wondered if they have the same national case rates as the UK and if Mediterreanian countries have lower ones due to the use of olive oil in their diet.

  • Dave Knight
    5 May 2019

    I am waiting (a long time) for a hernia operation. This has meant “impacting” of faeces. producing very solid and difficult to pass solids. I did a bowel self test about 18 months ago which was clear. Would this increase problem however? In a very mixed diet I do not eat red meat every day.

  • Rebecca Watkins
    5 May 2019

    If you opt for the nitrate and nitrite free bacon now available is this ok or could it still have the same effect?

  • nicola green
    5 May 2019

    Why is your advice on a cancer research website only to cut down processed and red meat. Surely the headline should be “don’t eat it”. You have just said they are in group 1 and cause cancer. This leaves people feeling confused and that it is ok to eat it.

  • Josephine
    5 May 2019

    What about sulphites in wine do they have the same effect?

  • Susan
    4 May 2019

    I have cut my red meat to once per week but I really do not enjoy eating it , this was a consequence if being part of a group called Care Across

  • Martyn Elton
    4 May 2019

    I feel strongly, now the link between processed meat (and more than likely red meat) os beyond doubt Cancer Research should be promoting a stronger, clearer, message to the general public. I understand there is a vast, powerful, industry prohibiting this, but nevertheless I feel you are only hope.

  • Elaine
    4 May 2019

    It is frightening to see it laid out bare. What with climate change, blood pressure warnings, it is very timely

  • Sheila Douglas
    4 May 2019

    A very good article it certainly shows the part red meat has on our bowel. Luckily I hardly eat red meat. I wonder if it affects other cancers both my sons have been diagnosed with prostate cancer within a few months of each other . I wonder if their diet contributed to this

  • Peter Lange
    4 May 2019

    Very useful

  • Pete
    4 May 2019

    I’ve recently tried to reduce my red meat intake to no more than 100g a week (essentially one day per week) and limit processed meat intake to the very odd occasion (you know, because I still enjoy my bacon and chorizo!). It’s easier than you might think to find alternative sources of protein and still get the other nutrients required for a healthy balanced diet all while reducing bowel cancer risk at the same time. My fruit and veg intake has gone right up which can only be a good thing right?

  • Hitesh Gami
    4 May 2019

    Informative up to date news on most common cancers. Sadly not on my particular disease

  • Dawn
    4 May 2019

    Excellent informative article easy to understand -I very rarely consume red meat and have pretty much stopped buying processed meats -apart from occasionally buying “Naked bacon ” (which contains no nitrites or nitrates)as a treat about once a month

  • Elizabeth
    4 May 2019

    This article has really helped me realise how serious the connection is and I am now considering cutting red meat out of my diet altogether to avoid the risk.

  • Tiffany
    4 May 2019

    As a bowel cancer survivor at the age of 38 and mum of two young children at the time (I’m now 51, my mum also had bowel cancer at 67) and survived, both of us left with shorter bowels) I eat eat virtually no processed or red meat. As a consultant told my husband (his father died of bowel cancer) when he had a polyp removed from his bowel: ‘Leave red meat for birthdays, Christmas and when friends come round’, and sometimes we don’t even eat it then. A couple of years ago, we convinced our local butcher to start producing some of their bacon without preservatives. Now all of their sausages and bacon are produced this way. Our meals are now either vegetarian, vegan, a bit of fish and chicken, with the very occasional red meat, but we don’t look back.

  • Keiley Owens
    3 May 2019

    The government should ban all of the harmful additives that are put into our food. We pay enough money for them . I’m going to buy more fish and chicken to make meals even though I do love a crispy bacon sarnie ha

  • Elizabeth Hamley
    3 May 2019

    Good to see the research and comparative risks. I might eat a bit less ham and red meat but at least I can balance the risks, and if I don’t want to deprive myself of enjoyable food, well no one else to blame if I’m one of the unlucky,

  • Gordon Ellis
    3 May 2019

    I recently bought Chicken chippolatas – not red meat but processed I suppose – I can’t win – will continue with lots of veg and fruit and granary bread.

  • Fergus McGhee
    3 May 2019

    I am pleased that the charity issues these scientific and medical facts.

  • Billy Harrington
    3 May 2019

    *According to the data shown, if you eat 76g of red or processed meat per day, you will only have a 0.76% chance of getting cancer.

  • Linda Harris
    3 May 2019

    We all need to eat a balanced diet with lots of fruit and veg, be more active and tackle obesity. Some people don’t know how to change, they need help and advice

  • Alan Baker
    3 May 2019

    The Company’s that are putting these chemicals in our food should be made to stop the government should take a stand on this ban the chemicals ban use by dates and all the plastic packages and go back to buying our meats and cooked meats fresh over the counter we never had all these problems years ago (or did we)

  • Carol
    3 May 2019

    Very informative

  • John McAlley
    3 May 2019

    I think that ‘Government Advice’ has lost value, more so recently due to the lack of integrity of our MPs during the brexit debate! Also research and studies never give conclusive evidence, most seem biased to the result searched for and never give positive provable evidence that the people can understand and believe in.
    Sorry to be so negative but to much information turns out to be wrong later.

  • Jane
    3 May 2019

    My mother died of bowel cancer in 1977 age 65 but she ate very little red meat and a huge amount of vegetables from the garden. Your article informed me that there are other factors involved. I don’t eat much red meat but do use processed meat for sandwiches so I shall reduce this although I do understand that for the amount I eat the risk is not high.

  • Jenny
    3 May 2019

    All the information recently has made me massively review the types of food I am feeding my family! Thank you cancer research for allowing me to make the change before it’s too late!

  • Guy Jubb
    3 May 2019

    The top tips are useful action points to put into practice.

    The visuals alerted me to pork (and lamb) being a red meat – I hadn’t realised that before.

  • Sally
    3 May 2019

    Having had cancer and my Dad dying of cancer at a young age I find your cancer blogs very informative especially with so much hype in the media

  • Gordon Rhobertson
    3 May 2019

    reasonable article

  • Colin Buchan
    30 April 2019

    Go Vegan

  • Dave
    27 April 2019

    Strongly suggest a careful read of this article to understand why meat, the food with which we have the longest evolutionary history, is not the culprit in cancer. https://chriskresser.com/red-meat-cancer-again-will-it-ever-stop/

  • Dave
    27 April 2019

    Never will you see an article claiming donuts or cookies or candy or pie or other blood glucose boosters cause cancer, yet the best evidence confirms exactly that. Meat is decentralized, low-margin food. A box of cornflakes that retails for $3 contains 3 cents worth of corn. That’s why the anti-meat stuff never goes away, and carbs are pushed relentlessly.

  • DocMills
    26 April 2019

    This article is confusing and confused.

    The title suggests a look at processed meat but regularly mentions red meat. CRUK’s recent research found that red meat alone was not linked to colon cancer. And why are fresh meat sausages but not fresh meat burgers bundled in with preserved meat hot-dogs? And you’ve not discussed the quality of the evidence, which is mostly based on recall-biased cased-controlled cohorts and unable-to-recall Food Frequency Questionnaires (“What did you eat last week?”).

    The evidence is far from clear!