Processed meats rank alongside smoking as cancer causes WHO

The statement from the IARC, published as an article in the journal Lancet Oncology, substantially toughens the line, especially against processed . But while scientists are concerned about the risks of eating too much , some nutritionists maintain that the extra risk is relatively small and that has other benefits.

Dr Elizabeth Lund an independent consultant in nutritional and gastrointestinal , and a former research leader at the Institute of Food Research, who acknowledges she did some work for the meat industry in 2010 said red meat was linked to about three extra cases of bowel cancer per 100,000 adults in developed countries.

A much bigger risk factor is obesity and lack of exercise, she said. Overall, I feel that eating meat once a day combined with plenty of fruit, vegetables and cereal fibre, plus exercise and weight control, will allow for a low risk of colorectal cancer and a more balanced diet.

Prof Ian Johnson, emeritus fellow at the Institute of Food Research, also said the effect was small. It is certainly very inappropriate to suggest that any adverse effect of bacon and on the risk of bowel cancer is comparable to the dangers of tobacco smoke, which is loaded with known chemical carcinogens and increases the risk of lung cancer in cigarette smokers by around twentyfold.