Q&A on the carcinogenicity of the consumpti... - Healthy Eating

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Q&A on the carcinogenicity of the consumption of red meat and processed meat


Eating processed meats like sausage and bacon, and red meats like steak and ground beef may increase your risk for colorectal cancer and possibly a few other cancers, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

In October 2015, the WHO reported that it reviewed more than 800 studies and found that eating more than 100 grams of red meat per day—equivalent to a steak about the size of a deck of cards—was associated with a 17 percent higher risk of colorectal cancer.

The report also found that people who ate more than 50 grams of processed meat per day—roughly two pieces of bacon—increased their colorectal cancer risk by 18 percent.

More recently, an International Journal of Cancer analysis released in October 2018 suggested that high levels of processed meat consumption are associated with a 9 percent higher risk of breast cancer. Other research has revealed links between eating red meat and increased risks of pancreatic, advanced prostate and stomach cancers, says Ashley Jeter, MD, hematologist, and oncologist at Charleston Cancer Center in South Carolina. WHO experts said that more research is needed to fully understand these associations.

The link to the World Health Organization article is below.


29 Replies

Hi gymdandee, thanks for posting this as its been on the news a lot recently and it is worrying that food we have associated with health and vitality (beef) is now being demonised.

I think there is a massive difference in highly processed meats with additives taste enhancers and nitrates which are going to be much more detrimental to our health than a cut of meat from an organic source.

We are feeding animals growth hormones and then eating meat with growth hormones/antibiotics and wondering why it's having an adverse effect on us and not eating a balanced diet. In my opinion if someone eats lots of processed meat based foods and not enough fruit veg and roughage then they are going to have imbalances in their bodies and this is exacerbating colon cancer and the like.

I definitely think that if we as a society ate more pulses fruits and veggies we would be much healthier than eating processed foods that lack nutrition.

We also have to bear in mind that plants produce anti nutrients to protect themselves from predators and we have lost the art of preparing natural foods to neutralise anti nutrients so I think that this is far more complex than just avoiding processed and red meats.

it's the food processing industry that needs looking at where the manufacturer looks at cost flavour and taste and doesn't consider the nutritional content of the food they are selling us. They make things salty to enhance flavour and make us thirsty so we want to buy a drink... when a balanced diet is not a cheaply made meat pie in one hand and a beer/cola in the other...

A great and thought provoking post. 👍

gymdandee in reply to Jerry

Hello Jerry,

Some more food for thought!

Pesticide Drift Threatens Organic Farms


The above link is from National Public Radio


Jerry has some great points!

The general concern is that they don't distinguish between someone whose red meat comes on a McDonald's burger or a kebab Vs someone who eats their red meat in a veg loaded stir fry. I think until we have a study that controls for those variables, there's still too many questions about what is and isn't safe to eat.

And this is why veganism is soaring.

I am not vegan by a long shot but more of a flexitarian and I do not eat as much meats as I used to and eat a lot more fruit and veg and seeds.

The nutrients you get from meats being iron, protein or fish and omega 3. You get these nutrients from plant matter.

Animals don’t produce these nutrients but gain them from the plant matter they eat.

I agree with Jerry when he mentioned the difference between processed meats and organic chops of meat like from a butcher.

Animals are fed growth hormones/antibiotics which are stored in the flesh of the animal then we come along and eat their flesh so then we intake the hormones and antibiotics.

Similar thing with pigs. Pigs will eat almost anything, even their own dung. With all that rubbish their eat comes toxins and the toxins are stored in their flesh. We then eat their flesh meaning we take in their toxins too.

It’s pretty much a no brainer why people are sick most of the time.

So my question would be why? Why do the food industry do this? Why do they taint our food so that they make us sick?

Do they do it for the money involved? Could be but why would you want to make people sick or even kill them just to make money?

That makes it sound like the people behind the food industry are professional hitmen.

PenelModerator in reply to Matt2584


Some nutrients, like iron, are absorbed more effectively from animal meat than from plants.


One of the great things about pigs is that they can convert “rubbish” into meat that is not toxic to us, it’s a natural process that’s been going on for years.

The antibiotics and hormones given to some animals are a different matter, and certainly aren’t good for us. It’s not such a problem in the U.K. as it is in the US.

Matt2584Star in reply to Penel

“The antibiotics and hormones given to some animals are a different and certainly aren’t good for us. It’s not such a problem in UK than US”... But the problem is growing in the UK and europe.

Antibiotic/hormone-fed animals are most likely from factory farms which are slowly but surely spreading throughout Europe.

I have signed petitions to shut down these factory farms as they not only pollute our food but pollute the environment too.

The article is titled “7 nutrients you can’t get from plants” which is actually quite a deceptive title because reading through the article you can get these nutrients from plants and some of these nutrients are not exactly essential to the diet and some other nutrients are actually produced in the body.

The nutrients produced in the body and plant-based nutrients may be in very small quantities as opposed to the nutrients from rasher of bacon or the like but you are still getting those nutrients you need from plant-based sources.

Like vitamin B12 for instance. The article says “Vitamin B12 is an ESSENTIAL nutrient found in ALMOST no plant foods.

Almost... which means it is involved in little plant foods but not many.

I get Vitamin B12 from enriched nutritional yeast.

Dr. Axe will also say that you will only find vitamin B12 from animals... and this is a so called “doctor”.


“Creatine is not essential in your diet, as it can be produced by your liver”

So in other words then, you don’t really need it. So is it even worth talking about :).


“Carnosine is only found in animal-based foods. However, it’s non-essential, as your body can form it from the amino acids histidine and beta-alanine”

Sounds like a waste of time to me.

Vitamin D3:

Vitamin D is essential for our diet and Vitamin D3 is only found in animal products.

“Of these types, cholecalciferol (D3) increases blood levels of bioactive vitamin D much more efficiently than ergocalciferol (plant-based D2).”

In other words, D3 is better than D2 at the end of the day but you are still getting your much-needed vitamin D either way so does it really matter?

Omega 3:

It is important for normal brain development and function.

“It’s mainly found in fatty fish and fish oil but also in certain types of microalgae”

And why is it found in fish? Because the fish heed on the microalgae.

Skip the fish and go straight for the microalgae (spirulina or chlorella).

Heme iron:

According to the article, this is the only nutrient I see that comes from meat or red meat.

Non-heme iron comes from plant-based foods such as spinach.

BUT either way, heme iron or non heme iron can prevent anaemia, an iron deficiency.


“It’s not essential in the diet, as your body produces small amounts. Still, dietary taurine may play a role in maintaining your body’s taurine levels.”

So if it’s not essential then as I say “It doesn’t really matter then”.

The bottom line:

“Nutritionally balanced vegetarian and vegan diets are very healthy.

However, a few nutrients are impossible or difficult to get from commonly consumed plant foods.”

I would scrub out ‘impossible’ cos it clearly is possible.

The only nutrient that appears to be meat-based is heme iron but it’s not exactly essential when you can get non-heme iron from plants.

At the end of the day, it is iron that you are getting, plant-based or not, and you will still be preventing anaemia.

crazyfitnessPWB Guest

Thank you for sharing gymdandee .

I totally agree with the comments below and do wonder why manufacturers are allowed to add so much to our food when it causes so much illness and, in turn, costs the NHS billions. Surely it would be much better if there was a law stating on how much and what additives i.e. natural v unnatural in to our food rather than them being able to just put in what they want to.

I cook mainly from scratch and read labels on pre-prepared food all the time. I don't eat meat or any animal derivative, I'm a Vegan, but do keep an eye on what I am eating. I try and buy organic as and where I can. Unfortunately though I, like many other people, cannot afford a complete 100% organic diet.

I also think it should be against the law to use pesticides as that is also known to cause cancer. There was a news story some time back, can't remember when, where a man worked on a farm and got cancer which was as a result of working in close proximity to the pesticides and using them himself to spray the crops.

I would like to know if and when the 'powers that be' finally decide that something needs to be done because at the end of the day there is plenty of evidence.

A very good post

PenelModerator in reply to crazyfitness

There is a lot of legislation around food additives and some of it is currently under review (another possible problem associated with Brexit).


It’s not usually possible to grow vast fields of one crop without the use of some pesticides at some point. The kind of pesticide used is important: organic, rather than synthetic, pesticides will decompose more quickly and not pose such a threat to health. Handling and using any pesticide is potentially dangerous and can affect health adversely.

crazyfitnessPWB Guest in reply to Penel

I totally agree with you that some control of the crops is needed but I think that it's overused on the crops. Agree that organic substances should be used rather than synthetic.

Also what gets me is the amount if synthetic substances they use in our food, I sometimes buy supermarket Vegan burgers but I looked at the ones in Morrison's which I had been using and they had quite a lot in them. I looked at the ones in Aldis, they were so much better.

Thank you for the link, I'll read that.

Matt2584Star in reply to crazyfitness

I have also heard of some of the conspiracy theories like depopulation/Agenda 21 or even 2030.

I know many people will say that these are just crackpot theories but I don’t think they are. I think there is some truth to them.

You say you wonder why the food manufacturers/food industry can taint our foods and make us sick but wouldn’t it make sense to leave our foods as clean and let humanity thrive like we are supposed to?

I would love to eat a 100% organic diet and I’m sure many others would want to as well (especially once they find most of our food is tainted, even processed plant-based food can be tainted with something horrible) but one, not only is the price a factor but some food suppliers/manufacturers will put ‘organic’ on the label when the actual food itself is tainted.

But again, why is our food tainted? That’s when I could turn to conspiracy theories and see more sense in it.

Isn’t it great that all the affordable foods are, pretty much, deadly and all the good food, or mostly all good food, costs a bomb.

Not sure about most other people but there is definitely something amiss and it is not right one bit.

According to conspiracy, they want to kill people off well why don’t they start by killing off waste of space people like paedophiles and criminals?

crazyfitnessPWB Guest in reply to Matt2584

I also think that the 'good unadulterated food' is far too expensive and unaffordable for many and the 'bad highly processed/interfered with food' is cheap. For instance, when I was in the supermarket with my daughter yesterday they had the high sugar processed sweets/cake bars etc aimed at children cheap and the pure fruit flakes at a ridiculous price, my daughter cannot afford the prices they were charging for the natural fruit bars.

The food that is cheap is interferring with our gut biome/good gut bacteria. Put it this way when I was younger you never heard of people having gut issues as they didn't use as many chemicals.

I agree with your comment also about processed plant food, I avoid this unless I've inadvertently bought something processed.

The publications that you see online and in the news, there's got to be something there.

Matt2584Star in reply to crazyfitness

I forgot to mention about pesticides.

I have signed petitions to stop using neonicotinoids as these are killing off bees at an alarming rate.

I have heard the story you mentioned about the farmer who was affected.

The story I heard was of a groundskeeper in America who sued chemical giant, Monsanto, after their pesticide/weed killer Round Up had given the man cancer due to being exposed to it.

Round Up’s main ingredient Glyphosate is very dangerous and is a known carcinogen.

The groundskeeper won the law suit and got something like, $189 million which is most probably nothing to Monsanto.

Monsanto have been spreading their evil chemical-based products for over a hundred years and are worth billions if not trillions.

crazyfitnessPWB Guest in reply to Matt2584

I'm the same as you, I sign many petitions concerning food, chemicals and what companies are doing to the rainforests etc.

Yes that's the one, I didn't know what his pay out was but like you say it's nothing to a huge company like that. I pull weeds up in my garden now, I don't use weedkilker. My husband has sprayed weeds behind our back fence,which isn't actually our land but I've said to him if you're going to do that please wear a mask, it's a very difficult place to get to.

I cannot understand why our Government, whichever one's in power, isn't stricter when it comes to chemicals, there's enough evidence out there!

Matt2584Star in reply to crazyfitness

When it comes to weeds, you might want to keep some of them like say dandelion or cleavers (aka sticky willy) as these two weeds are very high in nutrition :).

I will purposely grow dandelion.

You can eat the whole of the dandelion, flower, roots, stem, leaves, but I prefer to eat the leaves alone. Leave the flowers behind as a source of food for the bees :).

So I quite often add dandelion leaves and sticky willy to my smoothies.

You would think the government would be more strict when it comes to chemicals but I think half the time they are blinded by money.

crazyfitnessPWB Guest in reply to Matt2584

I never think of using dandelions, I used to pick them as a child for our tortoise. Of course I could make dandelion tea. I didn't realise they were that high in nutrition so thank you for that.

You certainly would think they'd be more strict but agree that money talks. The problem is they don't have any common sense as if they were stricter then it would save billions on the NHS bill as everyone would be a lot healthier - think I've made my point there about the Government. I'm not picking on one party either as they are all the same in my book.

Matt2584Star in reply to crazyfitness

Well as I say about dandelions and sticky willy and so on, why do you think they grow everywhere?

And the answer because they are packed with nutrition :).

I agree with you about the parties in the government are the same, your probably right there.

But when you were saying that they don’t have common sense. Well, it seems that way but I think they know what they are doing.

Whatever they do, good or bad, it is for the money.

The government want to eradicate the NHS.

THE NHS: A health service for the people that is free... or was mostly free for years.

I went to the dentist the other week, first time I had been in years and I had to pay to have my teeth examined and then pay extra for the outcome. I have to have a tooth pulled. But can’t you see how the NHS is slowly becoming like America?

According to reads, they say cancer is a business.

crazyfitnessPWB Guest in reply to Matt2584

I'll have to have a go at dandelion tea.

Agree re the Government to a point but I do think there are times where common sense does not prevail.

Totally agree re the NHS, all parties say we should fight for our NHS but then they don't give the money needed to the NHS. I'm a great believer in the service and it does concern me greatly on what's going to happen to it.

You have some very good points.

."My husband has sprayed weeds behind our back fence,which isn't actually our land "

but why is it considered ok to contaminate the land as long as it's not yours??

crazyfitnessPWB Guest in reply to alchemilla12

Because the weeds hang over into our garden. Also, to be fair, there are new people that live at the back of us now and they sprayed them as well and are happy for us to do the sane. I just wish they would 'reclaim' their land then we won't have the wasteground.

dont you think there are double standards here where you sign petitions against chemicals but consider it ok for your husband to spray the neighbouring land just because the people next door do and just because you've got permission to do so doesnt make it a good thing!

crazyfitnessPWB Guest in reply to alchemilla12

No I don't as he hasn't sprayed them in a long time and we no longer have any of the weed killer left, I won't be buying any more.

well thats good to know - it sounded like you were talking about what is happening in your garden now as you were talking about how the weeds hang over into your garden etc...

crazyfitnessPWB Guest in reply to alchemilla12

I know and we were using the spray weed killer and to be honest this was before I knew how bad it was.

well , life -and a healthy one -is a learning process isnt it , so at least you know to avoid the nasties now :)

crazyfitnessPWB Guest in reply to alchemilla12

It is a big learning process and I'm glad more and more information us becoming available.😀

" also think it should be against the law to use pesticides as that is also known to cause cancer. There was a news story some time back, can't remember when, where a man worked on a farm and got cancer which was as a result of working in close proximity to the pesticides and using them himself to spray the crops."

This was Monsanto and they were fined millions of dollars in at least 2 court cases.Unfortunately those fines were probably a drop in the ocean to this company....

crazyfitnessPWB Guest in reply to alchemilla12

Yes you are right, Matt2584 has mentioned the case above. It's not right they are allowed to manufacture the weedkilker let alone use it.

Likely feeding the animals on meat in their swill food that is why problems occur

Interesting information..

I will read this link for future references..

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