Krav Maga Bristol Coach Paul Grey writes about the recent World Health Organisation findings on Processed meat consumption.
Eating just 50 grams of processed meat every day can increase the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%
If you train regularly in Krav Maga, a combat sport or any type of fitness training, it’s not unreasonable to assume you are relatively health conscious.
At British Krav Maga we don’t generally get involved in nutrition but the recent research from the World Health Organisation in conjunction from the sheer volume of questions we get me realise that we should share important nutritional information and push it to those who’s lives we touch.
To cut a long story short, The World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) delivered a damning report linking meat consumption and cancer.
In particular it highlighted a strong causative link between processed meats and colorectal cancers.
Processed meats such as frankfurters, burgers, sausages and bacon have long been associated with diseases like can cause heart disease and bowel cancer but it would seem that we now know processed meats do cause cancer.
What is also of some concern is that even relatively small portions, (just 50 grams a day) are proven to be carcinogenic to humans.
This means that processed meat is categorised as carcinogenic along with substances such as tobacco, mustard gas and formaldehyde.
The bad news is that IARC also found that red meat (lamb, beef and pork) is “probably carcinogenic to humans” too. In simple terms this means that they don’t have the evidence yet to prove a causative link at this point in time. They also found red meat consumption is ‘probably associated’ with colon cancer, pancreatic cancer and prostate cancer.
It’s easy to forget the human cost of this.
Ask any nurse or Dr about the treatment, side effects and survival rates for something like pancreatic cancer, it will usually cause a short silence whilst they think how most tactfully to answer the question. Sadly I have up close and personal experience of this and trust you don’t want to go there.
To put this in perspective, according to Macmillan Cancer Support, by 2020, 47% of the UK population will get cancer during their lifetime. This is up slightly from 44% currently. We also know from Cancer Research UK that around 50% survive cancer. However survivors of cancer often do not return to full health with long term pain and side effects from the treatments.
So what does this mean, isn’t this just another fad or food scare?
What can you do about it?
1. Reduce your consumption of meat.
It is probable that the problem is caused by the chemicals and treatments applied to make meat last longer. This also applies to unadulterated meat which is also treated to last longer.
2. Avoid processed meat
Avoid anything that has been processed into something else – e.g. sausages, burgers, processed meals, takeaways, kebabs.
3. Look at red meat alternatives.
Look at fish and poultry – both healthier options, fish is generally considered healthier than poultry. Consider quorn – arguably the healthiest option.
British Krav Maga
Cancer Research UK
BBC Article Half the UK population will get cancer within their lifetime