(Health Secrets Newsletter) Eating processed meat can increase your risk of developing pancreatic cancer, according to research conducted in Sweden. The study, which was published in the British Journal of Cancer, suggested that increasing your intake of processed meat by around 50g per day, which is about one breakfast sausage, could increase your risk of developing pancreatic cancer by 19%.
What Did the Study Show?
The study was carried out at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and it analyzed the results of eleven previous trials which involved over two million people. These included 6,643 people who suffered from pancreatic cancer. The study aimed to determine whether there was a link between the consumption of red meat and processed meat, and the development of pancreatic cancer.
While there was little correlation between red meat consumption and the development of pancreatic cancer, there was a clear indication that eating processed meats such as hot dogs, burgers, lunch meats, deli meats and sausages can significantly increase the risk of this disease.
It should be noted that the chances of developing pancreatic cancer are generally quite low, roughly one in seventy-eight, so even with an increase of 19% that risk is still relatively low. It is not known exactly why processed meat increases the chances of pancreatic cancer, and it may simply be that people who eat processed meat are more likely to be obese and this is also a risk factor for pancreatic cancer.
Red meat and processed meats have already been linked to bowel cancer, and the general advice is to limit processed meats in your diet as they often contain articial ingredients and are cured with hazardous substances. The World Cancer Research Fund recommends avoiding processed meats altogether, and Dr Rachel Thompson, the fund’s deputy head of science stated that:
“We will be re-examining the factors behind pancreatic cancer later this year as part of our Continuous Update Project, which should tell us more about the relationship between cancer of the pancreas and processed meat. Regardless of this latest research, we have already established a strong link between eating red and processed meat and your chances of developing bowel cancer, which is why WCRF recommends limiting intake of red meat to 500g cooked weight a week and avoiding processed meat altogether.”
Tips on Eating Meat Healthily
Meat can be an important part of our diets as it contains valuable amino acids, vitamins, minerals and other health constituents. However some meats contain antibiotics and drugs to stimulate growth and can have a negative impact on our health, particularly conventionally produced meats. Unfortunately the less healthy types of meat tend to be more affordable than the healthier varieties, so it can be difficult to eat good meat every day. Here are some tips to help you eat meat the healthy way.
- Avoid processed meats such as sausage, salami, bologna, hot dogs, hamburgers, bacon, burgers and other meat containing additives, and buy organic free-range meat in its natural state from a fresh meat counter.
- Rather than buying ready-made meatballs or burgers, make your own; theyâ€™re easy and cheap.
- Limit your red meat intake to one portion per week and focus on poultry and fish instead.
- Have at least one meat free day each week and get your protein from beans, lentils, nuts, seeds or eggs instead.
- Stir fry, roast or bake meat rather than frying it, and avoid high heat grilling that leaves meat charred.
- Reduce the volume of meat in your meals so you can afford better quality and add bulk with vegetables.