Are red meat bad?

You just have to shop around one of the many steakhouses in the capital, or in any city, to find them full of soccer players and other celebrities tasting red meat in the form of a ribeye or other formats. There is also a long list of celebrities who are practitioners of vegetarianism such as Brad Pitt, Miley Cyrus or Paul McCartney.

Some other, which we are not going to name, has called itself mammalian vegetarian, which shows some confusion. But, neither so much nor so bald, can eating red meat be harmful to health?

Pollution cases

The consumption of red meat and processed meat is in the eye of the hurricane. Recently we have been surprised by cases such as meatloaf, contaminated with listeria. This is a bacterium that can contaminate food when failures occur in the production chain or in conservation, which lead to contamination and proliferation of this germ. These cases are not exclusive to our country. Recently in Germany there has been a similar one due to the contamination of a brand of sausages. Unfortunately this is a disease that is increasing in Europe and even in the world, with outbreaks in the United Kingdom or South Africa, for example.

It can be said that processed meat is related to colorectal cancer

Listeria can produce all kinds of infections. From the gastrointestinal, abscesses or skin rashes, to the most serious as endocarditis, meningitis or even septicemia That can lead to death. In Spain there have been hundreds of cases and several deaths, distributed throughout much of the national geography. This is due to food distribution chains, which are increasingly global. Pregnant women, the elderly, children or people weakened by chronic diseases are the most sensitive groups.

Processed meat

Beyond these cases of infections caused by human failures, red and processed meat can be harmful to health. At least that's what the World Health Organization (WHO) says. This organization qualifies as group 2A the consumption of red meat.

But what does this mean? In 2014, an international expert committee issued this recommendation based on multiple studies that evidenced Small increases in the risk of colorectal cancer associated with the consumption of this food. Since the scientific evidence proved to be limited, without being able to exclude other explanations or biases, the risk of its consumption was included in this group. Do not forget that the use of mobile phones is group 2B, that is, less risk. And cigarette smoking is a group one, which is the most risky.

But what about processed meat? WHO has classified its consumption as group one, as tobacco consumption. This means that there is sufficient scientific evidence, in the studies carried out, to state that its consumption is reliably related to colorectal cancer. Nor should we be confused, this does not mean that eating red meat has the same risk as smoking. Being in group one means that whatever factor it is – tobacco, red meat, ionizing radiation – It is proven that it can cause cancer with scientific evidence, but does not measure the degree of risk. Everyone knows that smoking is much more dangerous to health than eating a sausage or hamburger.

We understand as red meat all that comes from the muscles of mammals such as pig, beef, sheep … And processed meat that is transformed to improve its flavor or preservation by salting, curing, fermentation, smoked, etc. For example: sausages, ham, canned meat or sauces containing meat. In general, the consumption of red meat is recommended twice a week, and once in the case of processed meat.

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