Meat and cancer

There is no evidence showing that lean, red meat has any casual relationship with the initiation of cancers. Many studies that have been used to suggest a link show a weak association between high red meat consumption and cancer and international scientific opinion is divided.

However, it’s important to remember that red meat is a source of zinc and iron, so if you generally only eat a small amount, it may not be a good idea to cut down.   

Since 2011, UK adults who eat more than 90g of cooked red meat per day - that was one in ten women and four in ten men - have been advised to reduce their intakes to an average of 70g, and that is what the majority has done. Government figures now show that average red meat intake in UK adults is 71g, with lower intakes seen in women and children.

As a guide, 70g of cooked red meat is

• One medium portion of cottage pie

• Two standard beefburgers

• One lamb chop

• Two medium slices of beef, pork or lamb

• Three slices of ham

As a futher guide

1 grilled rasher of back bacon is 25g

1 large sausage, grilled is 40g

1 small sausage, grilled is 20g 

grilled rump steak is 102g

 a slice of paté is 40g

 a quarter pounder, grilled is 80g

However, the most established diet-related risk factors are overweight and obesity and low levels of physical activity.