iheard - fact or fiction?
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Hayley from Richmond, South Australia, Australia heard:

Eating too much red meat gives you cancer.

...and asked:

I read a blog that said Harvard university researchers had found a link between eating too much red meat and breast cancer. How much red meat is safe to eat?

The source

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Our Answer

There is no credible evidence of an association between eating red meat and breast cancer. However, eating red meat and in particular processed meat (cured with the addition of preservatives and/or other additives) does appear to be associated with a modest increased risk of colorectal (bowel) cancer. Despite some concerns about meat and cancer, Cancer Council recognises that lean red meat is an important source of dietary iron, zinc, vitamin B12 and protein in the Australian diet.

Cancer Council recommends:

  • only eating moderate amounts of red meat: 65-100g of cooked red meat, 3-4 times a week
  • limiting consumption of processed meats – such as salami, frankfurts, bacon and ham – which are high in fat and sodium (sodium chloride and sodium nitrate)
  • avoiding burnt or charred meat.


This page was last updated on: 24 June 2014