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Originally published May 31 2011

Red meat and processed meat raise colon cancer risk, while fiber lowers it

by Mary West

(NaturalNews) An international research team has issued a report stating there is convincing evidence that consuming too much red meat and processed meat can dramatically increase colorectal cancer risk, while consuming lots of fiber from plant-based foods can lower it. Researchers from Imperial College London proclaim the review to be the most authoritative and thorough information on this disease risk published to date: Medical News Today notes.

Elisa Bandera, MD, PhD, author of the treatise, states the review of scientific studies proves that colorectal cancer is one of the most preventable varieties of cancer. The report estimates that approximately 45% of cases of this disease could be prevented by following the recommended dietary and lifestyle practices. These advisories consist of eating plenty of high-fiber plant foods, eating less meat, drinking less alcohol, exercising and staying slender.

Researchers evaluated the influence of diet, physical activity and body weight on colorectal cancer incidence. They added 263 new research papers to the 749 that were analyzed in the previous 2007 report. The authors determined that the evidence linking red meat consumption with a greater colorectal cancer risk is compelling. They recommended limiting meat consumption to 18 oz per week and completely avoiding processed meat consumption. Processed meat was found to increase the risk twice as much as red meat.

In addition to the findings regarding meat, researches found equally compelling determinations concerning the benefit of fiber. The new evidence showed fiber to be more protective against colorectal cancer than was previously surmised. While the 2007 report found fiber's protective property to be probable, today's treatise determined it to be convincing.

Red meats refer to beef, lamb and pork, while processed meats refer to ham, bacon, sausages, frankfurters and cold cuts, which contain smoke and curing agents. Food sources of fiber include fruit, vegetables, whole-grain products, nuts and beans.

These dietary guidelines found to affect risk were based on strong evidence. In addition to these recommendations, according to the Washington Post, garlic will likely lower colorectal cancer risk.

Aside from dietary considerations, researchers discovered certain lifestyle practices play a prominent role. Maintaining a healthy weight and participating in regular exercise proved to be protective against the disease. Drinking alcohol was found to increase colorectal cancer incidence in both men and women.

Dr. Alan Jackson, chair of the research panel, emphasizes that the review determined many cases of colorectal cancer are not inevitable, and that dietary and lifestyle alterations can markedly lower the risk. Much debate has transpired over the past few years about the possible increased risk associated with red and processed meat. Dr. Jackson hopes that this report will dissipate confusion and provide clarity, based on the strength of the evidence.

About the author

Mary West is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You may visit her website to learn more at

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