A report into links between diet and cancer contained some useful advice, but the attack on red and processed meats was a step too far.
November 1, 2007 3:00 PM | Printable version
Yesterday's report into the links between diet and cancer had useful advice for all of us in terms of reducing our cancer risk. But to suggest that we should stop eating some of our favourite foods such as bacon and ham - well, that does seem a little extreme.
Why does it seem a little extreme? Did he read the report on the evidence?
Yesterday you could have woken up and happily enjoyed a bacon sandwich for breakfast. Today apparently we shouldn't. Has anything really changed so drastically?
That is the nature of science!
The report's authors should not be surprised at the strength of today's backlash from media, chefs and consumers, as well as some of Britain's leading cancer specialists. This morning, consumers are more confused than ever about what they should and shouldn't eat. That can't be good.
Science evolves. It does not stand still. Even for consumers!
The report does give some very good advice on obesity. Previously we had to watch our waistlines due to the risk of heart disease and the like. Now we know that those extra pounds can add to our relative risk of developing cancer. But it's a shame that much of this good advice has been lost amid the debate on processed meats.
Rubbish. We can take in more than one issue!!
The red meat industry clearly has a vested interest in questioning the findings. But we have never suggested that people gorge themselves on ham or eat bacon three times a day. All the report is really saying is that we should all try to eat a healthy balanced diet and maintain a healthy weight. That's what we, and most sensible nutritionists and scientists, have been saying for years. Bacon and ham and all red meat in moderation are as important to a balanced diet as anything else. You could say that without them the diet is not balanced at all.
The advice on red meat in general was confusing too - people should eat less than 500g (cooked weight) per week. This is approximately what the average person in the UK eats right now. I can't help thinking that unnecessary confusion and concern would have been avoided if the report's authors had pointed this out.
500g may be the average - but what is the range of weight of meat eaten?
It's hard not to see the attack on bacon and ham as a step too far that has only succeeded in undermining some of the credibility of this report and its authors. It is always difficult to get consumers to change their ways - and alarmist diktats will do nothing to help.
He does not discuss the evidence in the report. This is a quite awful analysis of the 500 page report.