What do we really know about all of this? Well The WCRF believes there is evidence that strongly supports their claim that red and processed meats increase the risk of colorectal cancer. Back in 2007 they published a major report on the topic and have since urged the public to limit their consumption of red meat and sausages.
Unfortunately for the WCRF, a few discrepancies in the report meant they had to print a list of small errors. Some of which related directly to the findings which linked red meat and bowel cancer. The WCRF have said they will not alter their conclusions as they were based on an expert panel’s review of the scientific literature.
The argument has since resurfaced due to the government’s Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition citing the WCRF report in draft conclusions on the impact of cutting red meat on the nation’s iron levels.
The WRCF does not promote a strictly vegetarian diet nor do they ask people to cut red meat from their diet completely. The recommendation they give is simply that people keep within 500g a week, which is more or less 5 average servings of roast beef.
A spokesperson for Cancer Research has said: “Two of the world’s largest studies on diet and cancer have found that people are more likely to develop some cancers, such as bowel cancer, if they eat too much red or processed meat.”
On the opposing side however is cancer specialist Professor Karol Sikora who said those who enjoyed eating red meat should continue to do so.
“We have created a nightmare situation of confusing messages based on very little evidence. Eating red meat in the context of a balanced diet should really not be viewed as a problem.