They find that meat consumption does not increase the risk of cancer

Recently, it was pointed out that there is not enough scientific evidence to confirm and confirm that the consumption of red meat is a carcinogenic factor, and the WHO published a statement that caused a worldwide controversy about the consumption of red meat as a carcinogenic agent. Part of the confusion was due to the alarmist media and the same report that presented general terms that, when reinterpreted, caused alarm.

A WHO report prepared by the International Center for Research on Cancer (IARC) linked the consumption of meat products to an increased risk of developing cancer and classified red meat as “probably carcinogenic” and sausages as “carcinogenic to the body”. human”. This recommendation of a committee of scientists was made on the basis of more than 800 epidemiologic studies that have been carried out in isolation around the world and which suggest that there may be an association between high consumption of red meat or processed meat with an increased risk of several types of cancer.

For red meat, they presented limited evidence of a positive association between red meat consumption and the development of colon cancer. Because the limited evidence cannot rule out other sources that may also cause cancer; that is, it may or may not be a risk factor. Red meat refers to all types of mammalian muscle meat: beef, veal, pork, lamb, horse or goat.

In everyday language it is indicated that there could be a connection between consumption meat products and cancer, but they are not sure nor can they ensure it, the recommendation is rather in terms of warning the general population to promote a varied diet and limit meat intake; It is well known that red meat, when exposed to high temperatures (frying, charcoal grilling), undergoes chemical changes, creating potentially carcinogenic compounds such as acrylamide, heterocyclic and polycyclic aromatics; along with its association with saturated fat and cholesterol, which are additional nutritional factors that could be harmful in excess.

As for sausages and processed meats, they have been categorized by enough scientific evidence to show that consumption of processed meat causes colon and rectal cancer, and according to the analysis of data from 10 studies, it is estimated that every 50 gram serving of processed meat consumed per day increases the risk of colon cancer by approximately 18%, including sausages, hams, bacon, corned beef, cured meats, canned meats, sauces and meat-based preparations (Lancet, 2015).

Sausages are prepared with nitrate salts that have carcinogenic potential, and during their preparation, amines, nitrogen oxides and polycarbonates can be formed, which is why they are classified as risky food. However, it is necessary to take into account that cancer is a multifactorial disease and that epidemiological studies cause-and-effect relationships in uncontrolled populations and conditions, i.e. patient questionnaires are conducted where habits are examined and thus the possible origin of the disease is concluded, but the causes may be different.

It is necessary to consider the nutritional value of meat and its products, as well as their contribution to proteins, essential amino acids and vitamins for good health. An unbalanced diet and an excess of any food group causes health problems. After that, the WHO published another statement in which it is informed that it is not proposed to eliminate the consumption of meat and sausages, but to reduce their quantity and to accompany food with vegetables, as well as to organize dietary priorities.

• Mérieux NutriSciences /
• The Lancet, vol 114, October 2015.

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