More than half of Brits unaware that eating processed meat can lead to bowel cancer, survey says
Sixty percent of Britons are unaware that eating processed meat can lead to colon cancer.
A survey of 2,000 adults found that 27 percent are not at all concerned about the potential effects of processed meat on their health — particularly their risk of colon cancer.
Processed meat is defined as any meat that has been preserved by smoking, curing, salting or adding chemical preservatives, such as ham, bacon and sausages, and luncheon meats.
When eaten, certain chemicals added to meat to preserve it, such as nitrates and nitrites, react with the body.
It is this reaction, among others, that contributes to the increase in the risk of colon cancer.
It also found that four out of five respondents were meat eaters, consuming an average of 40g of processed meat per day, with a quarter consuming more than 50g per day.
The research was commissioned for the World Cancer Research Fund’s Cancer Prevention Action Week, taking place from 20-26 February, which this year aims to highlight the link between processed meat and colon cancer.
An analysis of global research conducted by the charity found that those who regularly eat processed meat have a 16 percent increased risk of developing colon cancer for every 50g they eat, compared to those who don’t eat it .
It also shows that eating processed meat is linked to 14.5 percent of male and 10 percent of female colon cancer cases.
Even so, 58 percent of adults believed they were eating about the right amount of processed meat, and only 24 percent felt they had too much.
dr Helen Croker, Head of Research Interpretation at the World Cancer Research Fund, said: “We know that colorectal cancer is the fourth most common type of cancer in the UK and that 54 per cent of colorectal cancer cases are preventable.
“Our analysis of global research also shows that those who regularly eat processed meat have an increased risk of colon cancer.
“We want to raise awareness and show steps people can take to reduce this risk.
“Our work focuses on prevention – so we conducted this study to understand how many people are aware of the link between processed meat and colon cancer and how we can help people reduce that risk.
“During this cancer prevention week of action, we are encouraging people to take part in the Great British Sarnie Swap and reduce their consumption of processed meat to lower their risk of colon cancer by swapping the processed meat in their sandwiches for healthier and more affordable alternatives.”
The research also found that only 53 percent have only a vague idea of what goes into making processed meat, with 25 percent admitting they had no idea.
Only 50 percent and 43 percent, respectively, were aware that sausage and ham rolls contained processed meat.
The survey, conducted by OnePoll, found that bacon is the most commonly consumed processed meat (66 percent) by meat eaters, followed by sausage (65 percent) and ham (63 percent).
Bacon (15 percent) is also the nation’s most popular sandwich filling, along with cheese (14 percent) and egg mayonnaise (13 percent).
It also showed that the top reasons people liked processed meat were taste (55 percent), cost (44 percent), and convenience (41 percent).
However, 48 percent of meat eaters are willing to reduce the amount of processed meat, and 67 percent of adults are willing to reduce their consumption in favor of healthier alternatives.
To help with this, the charity is encouraging people to take part in their Great British Sarnie Swap and has a fact sheet and quiz to help clear up the confusion surrounding processed meat.
Matt Lambert, health information and advertising manager at the World Cancer Research Fund, said: “It’s great to see that many people want to trade processed meat for alternatives.
“We want to help people change their diet by giving them some healthier swap ideas.
“Consider ingredients like chopped boiled eggs, canned fish or hummus with roasted vegetables.
“You could also use leftover rotisserie chicken for a sandwich the next day.
“We know that in the current economy, cost is an important factor when making food choices, which is why our website features a range of affordable and healthy sandwich filling ideas.”
TIPS FOR EATING LESS PROCESSED MEAT:
- Check the ingredients list for words like nitrate, nitrite, pickled, or salted. If you see these words, it’s processed meat.
- Reduce your portion sizes of processed meat — for example, if you eat ham, eat one slice instead of two.
- If you tend to eat processed meat most days, why not challenge yourself to have more meat-free days?
- Include more plant-based protein sources like beans, lentils, and chickpeas, soy-based foods like tofu and tempeh, simple nuts and seeds, and grains like quinoa.
- Swap processed meats for chicken and turkey or fish (white or oily). This will also help you eat less saturated fat.
- Choose more vegetables, legumes and whole grains and make them the focus of your meals. Adding herbs, spices or a squeeze of lemon enhances the flavor.
- Use smoked paprika powder to bring out the flavor of dishes.
- Instead of ham or other processed meats in sandwiches, wraps, and salads, choose canned fish like tuna, boiled eggs, hummus, peanut butter (no added salt or sugar), avocado, cheeses (like cheddar and cottage cheese), roasted vegetables, or leftover homemade meats like fried chicken.
- For a healthier roast, add more grilled mushrooms and tomatoes with your eggs instead of bacon or sausage. Or why not try halloumi or avocado?
https://www.the-sun.com/health/7443898/many-brits-unaware-eating-processed-meat-can-cause-cancer/ More than half of Brits unaware that eating processed meat can lead to bowel cancer, survey says