In a recent article in The Land the Cattle Council of Australia claims that eating 455g of cooked red meat per week is healthy. They claim that this is consistent with the Australian Dietary Guidelines and that it is required for "reducing risk of chronic disease such as cancer."
If we look at the most recent Australian Dietary Guidelines (2013) we find that the weight of evidence shows that eating red meat in fact increases the risk of cancer. Here is what the Australian Dietary Guidelines have to say about the links between red meat and cancer:
- Consumption of greater than 100-120g red meat per day is associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer. (p49)
- Consumption of red meat is associated with increased risk of renal cancer. (p49)
- To meet recommended intakes, men consuming an omnivorous diet would need to consume around 20% less lean red meat than currently. (p54)
These conclusions are backed up by the Cancer Council of Australia's Position statement - Meat and cancer prevention:
- The consumption of red meat and processed meat is convincingly associated with a modest increased risk of bowel cancer.
- There is limited suggestive evidence that red meat may be associated with an increased risk of oesophageal, lung, pancreatic and endometrial cancer, and processed meat with oesophageal, lung, stomach and prostate cancer.
Below are some quotes from the Australian Dietary Guidelines about the evidence that eating plant foods can help reduce the risk of cancer:
- Consumption of more than one serve per week of spinach is associated with reduced risk of colorectal cancer. (p37)
- Consumption of cruciferous vegetables is associated with reduced risk of lung cancer. (p37)
- A suggestive protective effect of intake of non-starchy vegetables on colorectal cancer has been described in the WCRF report. (p38)
- Consumption of legume foods is associated with reduced risk of colorectal cancer. (p38)
- Consumption of one to three serves per day of cereals high in fibre is associated with reduced risk of colorectal cancer in adults. (p45)
- The WCRF report found evidence of a probable association with the reduced risk of lung cancer and consumption of vegetables containing carotenoids and also found evidence suggesting that non-starchy vegetables were protective of lung cancer. (p38)
- The recent body of evidence suggests that consumption of fruit and vegetables is associated with reduced risk of lung cancer. (p140)
Summary: do your health as well as the animals a favour and live vegan.