The more rashers you eat increases risk of bowel cancer, study finds

Red meat

Red meat

According to the UK's National Health Service (NHS), a slice of ham contains 23 grams of processed meat while a grilled 8 oz steak contains 163 grams of red meat. Researchers also found that the cancer risk rose by 19 percent for every 25 grams of processed meat-a slice of ham or a rasher of bacon-that people ate daily, and by 18 percent for each 50 grams of red meat-equivalent to a thick slice of roast beef or a lamb cutlet.

Dr Bradbury said people who ate red and processed meat more than four times a week, had a higher risk than those who had it less than twice a week.

"The results confirm previous findings that both, red and processed meat consumption, increase the risk of colorectal cancer", he said.

Eating three rashers of bacon a day rather than just one could increase the risk of bowel cancer by 20%.

The study, which was conducted over a period of six years, analysed data from nearly half a million people involved in the UK.

For over five years, experts at the University of Oxford, University of Auckland, and the cancer research arm of the World Health Organization (WHO) analyzed the diets and cancer rates of people who voluntarily participate in the U.K. Biobank research project.

The study also found alcohol heightened the risk of bowel cancer, while fibre from bread and cereals reduced the risk. One in 15 men and one in 18 women born after 1960 in the United Kingdom will receive a diagnosis of the disease in their lifetime.

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"There's substantial evidence that red and processed meat are linked to bowel cancer, and the World Health Organisation classifies processed meat as carcinogenic and red meat as probably carcinogenic".

The first, from the International Agency for Research on Cancer, found an association between increased intake of processed meat and increased risk of cancer.

Cancer Research UK, which partly funded the research, said that current NHS guidance states that people who eat more than 90 grams (cooked weight) of red and processed meat a day should reduce this to 70 grams - the average amount consumed per day in the UK.

But it doesn't necessarily mean a bacon buttie is completely off limits.

"You could try doing meat-free Mondays, looking for recipes using fresh chicken and fish, or swapping meat for pulses like beans and lentils in your usual meals".

She said reducing the amount of red and processed meat eaten regularly could also cut salt and saturated fat in the diet and decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease.

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