Are you eating too much of the wrong meat?

This week you've probably noticed headlines like 'Bacon causes cancer' and 'Bacon bad' due to the recent release of findings by the International Agency for Research of Cancer (IARC). Processed meats such as bacon, ham and sausages have been placed in the same carcinogenic group as smoking and alcohol, as there is sufficient evidence to show that it causes colorectal (bowel) cancer. Red meat also gets a bad rap as it's now seen as probably carcinogenic to humans.

It all sounds quite worrying but when it's put into perspective, moderation is the key. According to Cancer Research UK's Processed meat and cancer article, the lifetime risk of bowel cancer in the UK is around 61 in 1000. A 2011 report by the World Cancer Research Fund found that those who eat the most processed meat had about a 17% higher risk of developing bowel cancer, compared to those who ate the least (about 56 cases per 1000 low meat-eaters), which meant a risk increase of 66 in 1000. Whilst these figures make the findings less scary it's still important to cut down on processed and red meat if you eat these products every day.

So how much is too much meat? The infographic below by Cancer Research shows how you can easily be eating too much processed and red meat in one day without realising.

When it comes to health there are also other factors that can come into play like family history, eating a balanced diet with fruit and vegetables, exercising and general wellbeing. Whilst we probably don't all need to go vegan or vegetarian, it's worth taking a bit of time to consider what you're eating.

World Vegan Day is on Sunday, 1 November this year, why not take this opportunity to start a veggie day in your week. You might find it a lot tastier and easier than you think. 

Those of you looking for more commitment can join in with Meatless Mondays which has fantastic veggie recipes and you can even get your school involved with these resources.

Share your healthy eating experiences and recipes with us!

If you have concerns about your health or about changing your diet, speak to your doctor first.

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