Lifestyle changes can prevent four in 10 cases of cancer

Cancer Research UK released new research today suggesting how simple lifestyle changes can prevent four in 10 cases of cancer and includes red and processed meat in a list of cancer risk factors[i].

Commenting on the study, Dr Carrie Ruxton, a nutritionist on the Meat Advisory Panel, said: “Meat and meat products make a significant contribution to intakes of iron, zinc, selenium, vitamin D and B vitamins, and the Department of Health advises that lean red meat should be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet. To enjoy meat safely, it is recommended that meat is cooked without additional fat, and burning or charring of meat is avoided.

“Cancer Research UK’s new study looks at the risk of eating too much meat and the topic of meat and cancer was addressed earlier this year by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) which concluded that, an average daily red meat intake of up to 70 grams per day (as cooked meat)[ii] is safe for adults[iii]. Average intakes in the UK are already below this level, suggesting that, for most people, red meat consumption does not need to be reduced.

“This latest study, like many previous studies, is based on observational and epidemiological research. In addition it groups fresh and processed meat together. As the findings suggest, there are more significant cancer risk factors that should be focused on; it is recognised that cancer is multifactorial and risk is influenced by smoking, obesity, differences in the quality of cancer diagnosis, and lack of exercise, as well as the fact that people are now living longer.”


Notes to editors:  

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[i] D. M. Parkin, The fraction of cancer attributable to lifestyle and environmental factors in the UK in 2010, British Journal of Cancer Supplement, (2011).
[ii] Henderson L, Gregory J, et al. (2003). The National Diet and Nutrition Survey: Adults Aged 19-64 Years. Volume 3 Vitamin and mineral intake and urinary analytes. London, The Stationery Office.
[iii] SACN (Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition). (2009). "Draft SACN Report on Iron and Health."   Retrieved 1st November 2010, from