For the first time, the UK Department of Health on Friday advised people who eat a lot of red and processed meat to consider cutting down to about 3 oz. to help reduce the risk of bowel cancer.
The warning follows a new report, from the independent expert Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN). UK health officials said that while red meat can be part of a healthy balanced diet — it is a good source of protein and vitamins and minerals, such as iron, selenium, zinc and B vitamins — the SACN report concluded that red and processed meat probably increases the risk of bowel cancer.
The Department of Health advised that cutting down to the UK average of 70g (about 3 oz.) a day can help reduce that risk. Examples of a 70g portion of meat are two standard beef burgers, six slices of salami, one lamb chop, two slices of beef or pork.
Every year, there are around 36,000 cases of bowel cancer in the UK and 16,500 deaths from the disease, according to the Department. Men in the UK are more likely to eat a lot of red and processed meat – 42 percent of men compared with 12 percent of women eat on average more than 90g a day.