Consuming a moderate amount of red or processed meat causes a higher risk of colorectal cancer, a new study suggests.
According to the research published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, people who ate 76 grams of red and processed meat per day (an amount that is within the limits currently advised by experts) had a 20% higher chance of developing colorectal cancer.
Processed meat, such as sausages or bacon, are even more harmful than red meat, as the study found that those who ate only 25 grams/day of processed meat had their cancer risk rising 20% compared to 19% with every 50 grams of red meat.
"A small amount of processed meat seems to have the same effect as a large amount of red meat," said professor Tim Key, who co-authored the study and is deputy director at the University of Oxford's cancer epidemiology unit.
"Our results strongly suggest that people who eat red and processed meat four or more times a week have a higher risk of developing bowel cancer than those who eat red and processed meat less than twice a week," Key said.
Alcohol has been considered as another factor increasing risk of colorectal cancer, the study said.