Eating red and processed meat, even in the recommended guidelines, may increase the risk of developing colon cancer, according to research by the University of Auckland.
Any bottle of beer you drink and a steak you eat can increase your risk of colon cancer, a new study found.
A researcher at the University of Oakland found that people who consumed red meat even in the recommended daily guidelines had 20 percent more chance of developing colon cancer than those who ate one-third.
They also linked alcohol – both beer and wine-with an increased risk of bowel cancer.
New Zealand ranks among the top 10 countries for meat consumption in the OECD. It also has one of the highest rates of colon cancer in the world.
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The survey, published in International Journal of Epidemiology on Wednesday, was the author of Dr. Catherine Bradbury, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Auckland.
Bradbury, Oxford University professor Tim Ki, and Dr. Neil Murphy of the International Cancer Research Agency, studied the diets of nearly half a million British women and men, aged 40 to 69, over a period of five years .
At that time, 2609 developed colon cancer (colorectal cancer).
The researchers referred to the BBC study in the United Kingdom, in which participants had different measurements and samples, and filled out a questionnaire that included a section on the diet.
They then linked this information to a diet with cancer and death registers.
People who ate about 76 grams of red and processed meat a day on average – slightly more than the recommended upper limit of 71 grams per day in New Zealand – had 20 percent more chances of developing bowel cancer than those who only ate around 21 g a day .
The risk increased by 19 percent with 25 grams of processed meat, roughly equivalent to a bacon or ham ham, eaten daily, and 18 percent for every 50 grams of red meat – a thick piece of roast beef or lamb cut – showed the study.
Each bottle of beer or a small glass of wine also increased the risk of colon cancer by 8 per cent.
The researchers also found that people with the highest fiber intake of bread and breakfast cereals had a 14 percent lower risk of bowel cancer.
No connection was found between bowel cancer and fish, poultry, cheese, fruits, vegetables and tea or coffee.
Guidance on eating and activity in New Zealand, state people should consume less than 500 gr. Cooked red meat weekly.
Although it used data from the United Kingdom, the results were relevant to New Zealand, as the country has "broadly similar diets" and similar high rates of bowel cancer, Bradbury said.
There were 1,268 deaths from colon cancer in 2016, the second leading cause of cancer death in New Zealand.
"This study shows that we could prevent some of these types of cancer by changing our diet," said Bradbury.
Red and processed meat pose a risk for several reasons: red meat is high in haem-irons, which can damage the bowel lining; cooking meat at high temperature or through an open flame can cause carcinogens to form; and nitrates found in processed meat can form carcinogenic compounds in the gut, she said.
But people do not have to cut red and processed meat completely, she added, adding: "You can try wireless lunches or days and replace red meat for chicken, fish or legumes."
"Think of less beer and bacon, more bran and brown bread," she said.
Bradbury's work was funded by a Girdlers scholarship through the Health Research Council.