Consumers have no beef with meat

Updated: 2016-01-08 07:56

By Shan Juan(China Daily)

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Consumers have no beef with meat

Sliced lamb is a popular dish among diners at hotpot restaurants. Geng Guoqing / for China Daily

Global impact

According to the report, if a person eats 50 grams of processed meat every day, the risk of contracting colorectal cancer rises by 18 percent, while daily consumption of 100 grams of red meat raises the risk by 17 percent.

"In view of the large number of people who eat processed meat, the global impact on the incidence of cancer is of public health significance," Straif said.

The IARC experts considered more than 800 studies - conducted in a number of countries and among populations with varied diets - that investigated links between the incidence of more than a dozen types of cancers with the consumption of red or processed meat. The most influential evidence came from large prospective cohort studies conducted over the past 20 years.

Christopher Wild, director of the IARC, said: "These findings further support current public health recommendations to limit the intake of meat."

In the meantime, as red meat has nutritional value, the findings are important in helping national governments and international regulatory agencies conduct assessments to balance the risks and benefits of eating red and processed meat, and then provide the best possible dietary recommendations, he said.

A complex disease

Chen Wanqing, director of the Chinese National Central Cancer Registry at the National Health and Family Planning Commission, said cancer is an extremely complex disease and cannot be caused by a single food source.

However, he conceded that IARC is a world-renowned academic organization and the findings were evidence-based. "They are trustworthy," he said. "The exact causes of cancer remain unknown and a balanced diet coupled with a healthy lifestyle is the key to human health."

Fang Yu, chief nutritionist at the Beijing Cancer Hospital, said the IARC report should not be used to promote a complete ban on red meat.

"It's meaningless to talk about carcinogens without mentioning the amount consumed," she said, but recommended maximum monthly consumption of 500 grams of red meat per person and suggested that people should not eat any processed meats.

Dwight W. Clark, medical director of the US-Sino HeartCare Center in Beijing, said that consumption of red or processed meat is not only associated with cancer, but also with other illnesses, such as heart disease.