Is My Christmas Ham a Processed Meat?

Simply put? Yep.

“Processed meat” is any meat that’s preserved by salting, smoking or curing, or by adding chemical preservatives. That means sausage, bacon, cold cuts like pastrami and salami, hot dogs and, yes, ham.bigstock-Dinner-Festive-4350476

Why does it matter whether or not ham counts as processed meat? Because the evidence on processed meat is different than the evidence on red meat, so our recommendations are different, too.

AICR’s expert report and its updates have consistently and convincingly shown that diets high in red meat are a cause of colorectal cancer. This is why we recommend moderating red meat intake to keep it below 18 ounces (cooked) per week. In studies, consumption at or below this threshold is not associated with increased risk.

When it comes to processed meat, the evidence is just as consistent and convincing — but a good deal more stark. That’s because the evidence on processed meat suggests that no “safe threshold” exists. A modest increase in risk for colorectal cancer is seen with even occasional consumption of processed meat, and continues to rise as consumption increases. Continue reading


Talking About… Processed Meat and Cancer

meat delicaciesDiets high in red and processed meats are a cause of colorectal cancer. Period.

That finding from our 2007 expert report was only strengthened in the 2010 Continuous Update Project Report on Colorectal Cancer, which reviewed evidence published since the 2007 report.

At this writing, more studies continue to be added to the CUP database; in 2017, the CUP expert panel will review the collected evidence once again and issue updated Recommendations for Cancer Prevention.

The existence of a link between red and processed meat and colorectal cancer is no longer surprising. But now researchers are asking the next questions –1. What is it, exactly, in red and processed meat that’s responsible for the increased risk, and 2. Is there anything we can do about it?

Amanda J. Cross, PhD, of Imperial College London, UK, will be presenting evidence tomorrow at our 2013 AICR Research Conference on Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Cancer. Continue reading


Study: Fiber, Gut Bacteria and Colorectal Adenoma Risk

Bacteria

Evidence is strong that consuming high amounts of dietary fiber protects against colorectal cancer. Previous research has suggested that fiber may play a role in colon cancer prevention due to its interaction with trillions of bacteria in our gut.

Now, a study adds to that evidence by focusing on advanced colorectal adenoma, a non-cancerous tumor that has the potential to develop into cancer.

The study, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggests that a high-fiber diet promotes healthy gut bacteria and its byproducts.

Gut microbiota are the microorganisms that live in our digestive tracts – in our stomach, intestines, and colon. We have about 10 trillion human cells in our body, but we have way more – about 100 trillion – microorganisms residing in our gut. A growing body of research is showing that these microorganisms are important to our health – from training our immune system, to producing vitamins and fighting off harmful bacteria. Continue reading