The World Cancer Research Fund of the UK (WCRF) is commited to delivering accurate information to the public concerning cancer and offers lifestyle choices that reduce the risk of cancer instead of focusing only on the cure.
They claim that people who consume above average amounts of red meat have higher rates of colon cancer. They also found that above average consumption of processed meats (sausage, ham, pastrami, salami, hot dogs, etc.) can lead to increased risk of colon cancer.
They do not say to denounce red meat entirely, but they do suggest that processed meats should be cut from the diet completely. Strong words. Upset. The Big Guys.
The National Beef Association (NBA), the National Sheep Association (NSA) and the National Farmer’s Union (NFU) are pissed, to say the least, and have issued statements suggesting the WCRF has misled the public. Uhhh, you mean, interfered with THEIR misrepresentation of the facts in order to keep people in the dark about the dangers of eating red and processed meat. So lucrative profits mean more than people’s lives. This is not surprising to most people. But the WCRF has a more altruistic message, to be sure.
So why are red and processed meats dangerous?
They contain a red-colored compound called heme which has shown to damage the lining of the colon, as well as act as a catalyst of oxidative damage and as a cancer causing agent of the colon, breast and prostate (pubmed.gov.)
Red meat (especially processed meats) can also stimulate cancer causing substances called N-nitroso compounds which damage DNA cells.
They suggest consuming no more than 500g of red meat per week, and of course, no processed meats. I believe even the suggestion of 500g was to appease the big dogs previously listed. Red meat has shown to cause cancer, period. There is no healthy limit then. Granted, claims are correlative, but if there is a correlation between lung cancer and cigarettes, blame it on the cigarettes, dammit!
Healthy alternative suggestions?
Beans and legumes are great meat alternatives in wraps, chilis, or burgers.
Vegetables for wraps, over pastas, stir-fried over rice
Portabello mushrooms as burger substitutes or on a sandwhich with hummis, lettuce, tomato, you get the drift
So many great tasting substitutions and when you miss the meat…try an Amy’s burger alternative or other brands, like Morningstar.