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Yesterday a group of international scientists delivered a verdict on red meat, concluding in a definitive study of the eating habits of half a million people that beef, lamb, pork, veal and their processed varieties such as ham and bacon, increase the risk of bowel cancer.

Those who eat two portions a day - equivalent to a bacon sandwich and a fillet steak - increase their risk of bowel cancer by 35% over those who eat just one portion a week, the study found.

The World Health Organisation's international agency for research on cancer (IARC) called for everybody to eat more fish and less meat.
People have suspected for some time that high levels of red and processed meat increase the risk of bowel cancer, but this is one of the largest studies worldwide which approved this suspicion.

The high-risk group eat more than 160g of meat a day. The average Briton eats 93g of meat a day, according to British Meat, which claimed there was no reason for most people to change their habits, so it means if you eat meat you won’t get cancer, but if you eat too much eat your chances to get cancer are increased.

At the other side, eating any sort of fish on a regular basis - at least 80g every other day - had a protective effect, reducing the bowel cancer risk by 30% over those who ate fish less than once a week.

Although man has been eating red meat for thousands of years, it is the way in which we now eat it that could be the problem. When eaten in stews and casseroles, the portion sizes tend not to be so large, and the meat is mixed with vegetables which provide helpful fibre. But plain British fare, such as steak and chips, bacon and eggs and roast meats without much in the way of vegetables, could be more problematic.

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Hello mavis,

This report is good news for me.  I eat some meat but I tend to eat more fish because I like it better.  It tends to light on the stomach whereas steak sits there like a lump.  So does port and chicken.  I'm glad to hear that seafood is very healthy for you.  That will make me eat even more.  I particularly love salmon, shrimp, crab, lobster and scallops.  Yum!  And, the nice thing is that seafood goes with so many veggies and even fruit that it becomes versatile.  It's also easy to cook and that's great.  Besides, if you want you can go fishing and catch dinner for free.  It doesn't get better than that.  Yea for science.

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