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Cutting out red meat prevents cancer, says government

Posted on - 3rd April, 2011 - 10:00am | Author - | Posted in - Food & Drink

Could you face your Sunday morning routine without the distinctive smell of fried bacon?

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Under new health guidelines, maybe you should.

As scientists issue warnings over links between cancer and red meat consumption, many might feel obliged to reassess their diet.

Christopher Bryant of Preston Vegan Society became a vegetarian after learning about the meat making process.

He said: “I have eaten meat before but I never get cravings as I don’t see animal produce as food anymore. The idea of putting it into my body repulses me.

“I think meat consumption has a far more negative effect on your body than positive. Yes, there are some nutrients that appear in greater quantity in meat but the junk far outweighs that.”

Cancer risks

Tests by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition indicate that limiting intake of red and processed meats could well reduce the risk of bowel cancer in humans.

Consequently, government guidelines have advised consumers not to eat any more than 500g of it a week.

Though red meat has long been associated with cancer, including breast, bladder and the main digestive organs, the claims are being disputed.

Dr Carrie Ruxton, member of the Meat Advisory Panel, said:  “Lean red meat is a good source of many vital nutrients and, thanks to modern farming methods, is lower than ever in saturated fat and calories.”

Diet choice

However, with 3.6 million vegetarians in the UK, a change in diet is becoming a popular choice.  Research by the Vegetarian Society shows that non-meat eaters are less likely to suffer from obesity, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Of course, vegetarians and vegans can also face health implications caused by their diet choice.

Deficiencies in iron, calcium and vitamin B12 are common.

After eight months of adjusting to a vegetarian diet, Christopher decided to avoid animal produce altogether and turn to veganism.

He said:  “Everything your body needs is available from a multitude of plant-based sources.  There is no reliable source for vitamin B12, but you can get foods that are fortified with it.”

Perhaps though, avoiding meat altogether could be a decision based on ethics rather than health issues.

“I think too much of anything is going to be bad for you be it animal related or not.   Just have a balanced and varied diet,” Christopher added.

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Image belongs to Flickr user seandereilinger.

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