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

A whole roast lamb is served at a rural home restaurant in Yichang, Hubei province. Zhang Guorong / for China Daily

A study by the National Institutes of Health in the US involving more than 500,000 people in the US found that those who regularly ate large portions of red and processed meats over a 10-year-period were likely to die earlier than their peers who ate little of either.

People who ate about 113 grams of red meat every day were more likely to die from cancer or heart disease than those who ate small amounts, roughly 14 grams a day, according to the study, although the scientists involved classified the increased risk as "modest".

Unsurprisingly, the meat industry has rebuffed suggestions that red or processed meat can cause, or contribute, to cancer, adding that lean red meat fits the dietary requirements for healthy cardiac function.

Janet Riley, a senior vice-president at the American Meat Institute, an industry group, said the study, which asked participants to list all the foods they ate every day, were unable to demonstrate cause and effect.

"Many of these suggestions could be nothing more than statistical noise," she said.

Despite industry objections, other studies have discovered similar links to those outlined in the IARC report. One study in the US, which followed 72,000 women for 18 years found that people who regularly ate a Western diet high in red and processed meats, desserts, refined grains and French fries had a higher risk of heart disease and cancer than those who didn't.

"Changing Climate, Changing Diets: Pathways to Lower Meat Consumption", a report published by the Royal Institute of International Affairs, an independent policy institute in London, said that globally, meat consumption has reached an unhealthy level and is still rising. Excessive consumption of meat has contributed to rising levels of obesity and chronic illnesses, such as cancer and type-2 diabetes, it said.