Consumption of red and processed meats slightly increases the likelihood of cancer
The International Agency for Research on Cancer ( IARC ), part of the World Health Organization, has released a report on a study of the effect of consumption of red and processed meat on the likelihood of cancer. If you believe the conclusions listed in the report, this probability really increases - but at the same time by insignificant values.
22 experts from 10 countries worked on the report. Having carefully studied the accumulated scientific works (more than 800 studies over the past 20 years have been studied), studying the relationship between the consumption of meat and meat products and the occurrence of cancer, the researchers decided that red meat (muscle tissue of mammals) should be classified as “possibly arecarcinogenic to humans. " The reason for this was some indirect evidence found in the materials studied. Scientists have not found any convincing data about the dangers of poultry meat, as well as fish and seafood.
Processed meat was assigned to the category of “carcinogenic products for humans” on the basis of sufficient, according to researchers, evidence of a link between the consumption of these products and the development of cancer. Moreover, the study focused on colorectal cancer, and to a lesser extent - kidney and prostate cancer.
Processed meat is a finished product obtained as a result of salting, canning, smoking, or other processes aimed at increasing shelf life or enhancing taste. Researchers give examples of such products in their work: sausages, ham, corned beef, bacon, canned meat and sauces.
At the same time, researchers argue that daily consumption of 50 grams of processed meat increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%, and 100 grams of red meat - by 17%. It is about increasing the likelihood that a person already has on other indicators - heredity, habitat, and some others. If, for example, a specific person has a 5% chance of developing such a cancer, then eating meat will increase it to about 6%.
Compared, for example, to smoking, which increases the risk of lung cancer by 2500% , these figures do not inspire serious concern. “If the risk in your life is so small, then you just have nothing to worry about,” says Alfred Neugut, an oncologist at Columbia University.
The essence of the effect of meat on the body lies in the presence of gems in it - complex compounds of porphyrins with iron. During digestion, they break down into nitrosamines.- substances that are associated with the appearance of cancerous tumors back in the 1950s. Processing meat only adds to it substances that also turn into nitrosamines in the body. In addition, heat treatment can cause other carcinogens to appear in food.
In different countries, the percentage of the population that consumes meat on an ongoing basis is very different - from a few percent to 100%. “Our work is further evidence of generally accepted recommendations for reducing meat consumption,” said Dr. Christopher Wild, Director of IARC. “On the other hand, meat is a very nutritious product, so governments and relevant government services need to conduct a risk assessment to balance the advantages and disadvantages of eating meat and provide the best dietary advice possible.”
Unfortunately, the bloating of this topic in the mediamay lead to an unreasonable fear of meat products. Do not panic - and in any case, before you radically change your diet or get into vegetarianism, you need to consult a specialist.