Today, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) named processed meat as a carcinogen. AICR has included avoiding processed meat as one of our recommendations for cancer prevention since 2007. Processed meat (and high amounts of red meat) increase risk for colorectal cancer.
On Monday the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) will release their evaluation of the cancer risk associated with red and processed meat. The findings, leaked to the press, will reportedly support AICR’s analysis of the research on this issue and our recommendation to limit red med meat and avoid processed meat.
Here at AICR we haven’t had a chance to read the full IARC report yet. When we do, we’ll update this blog post with our reaction.
In the meantime, here is what we know for certain:
Research shows a clear and convincing link between diets high in red meat and risk for colorectal cancer.
Research shows a clear and convincing link between even small amounts of hot dogs, bacon and other processed meats to colorectal cancer.
The IARC report may be new, but the evidence showing a link between red meats and colorectal cancer is not news. For years we have been recommending that Americans reduce the amount of red meat (beef, pork, lamb) in their diets and avoid processed meats like bacon, sausage, hot dogs and cold cuts. This advice grows out of our report, Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective and our recent report on colorectal cancer, This report, part of the Continuous Update Project, analyzed the global scientific research into the link between diet, physical activity, weight and cancer.
It’s what every examination of the science of diet and health requires. For too long, authorities have demonized specific foods in an attempt to explain poor health outcomes, or anointed the latest “superfood” a panacea against disease.
That’s more or less the gist of a new article in the New York Times, “Red Meat is Not The Enemy.” The author suggests that experts historically “cherry-pick” data from individual studies to single out one nutrient or food in an attempt to determine its role in human health.
The Totality of Evidence
We agree that this can be a problem, and a misleading one. And that’s precisely why, at the American Institute for Cancer Research, when we perform our ongoing analyses of the global evidence on the connections between cancer risk and lifestyle (read: diet, weight, physical activity), we do so using systematic literature reviews and meta-analyses. (We call it the Continuous Update Project, or CUP.) Read more… “Is Red Meat “The Enemy”? AICR’s Take”
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