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Red meat danger outlined in report

Adults should limit the amount of red meat, which contains substances linked to bowel cancer, to 70g per day, a government report recommends.

The study by experts from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition will urge a limit of 500g of red or processed meat every week, equal to three rashers of bacon a day.

An average ham slice is about 23g, a large sausage 40g and a medium steak about 145g.

Some studies have shown that the compound which gives red meat its colour, haem, damages the lining of the colon.

The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) recommends limiting red meat consumption to 500g a week of cooked weight (about 700g to 750g uncooked) and says people should avoid processed meats altogether because of the even higher risk of bowel cancer.

The charity estimated 3,800 cases of bowel cancer could be prevented ever year if everyone ate less than 70g of processed meat a week. Some 1,900 cases of bowel cancer could also be prevented through cutting red meat consumption to under 70g per week.

The round-up of 20 studies published worldwide found people who eat processed meats have a 42% higher risk of heart disease and a 19% increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

Copyright © Press Association 2011

Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition