In the US, many of us are unfamiliar with the metric system and may not know what 50 grams (which converts to 0.11lb) looks like. If you have ever ordered a quarter pound hamburger (0.25lb), approximately half that portion size of processed meat eaten daily has been found to be carcinogenic (cancer causing). 0.22lb (just shy of the quarter pound burger patty), is the amount of red meat which if eaten daily has been shown to be carcinogenic.
WHAT does this mean for people who have found success with weight loss, weight training and muscle building through eating a high protein/red meat/processed meat filled diet? Or what about people who see themselves as die-hard red meat, grilling on weekends, hot dog eating, tailgate partying kind of folks? Are they doomed to meatless hot dogs, veggie burgers and salads forever? (Not likely...unless they want to, of course!)
Now, I have to admit I truly enjoy my salads, veggie burgers and meatless meats, however I also understand not everyone has willingly chosen a meatless path for themselves. So, before you begin grieving the end of a red meat and processed meat filled era, let's take a look at your options.
Knowledge is power, as the saying goes, so first it's important to look at how WHO has classified red meat and processed meats:
Red meat (as defined by WHO) refers to all types of mammalian muscle meat, such as beef, veal, pork, lamb, mutton, horse, and goat.
Processed meat (as defined by WHO) refers to meat that has been transformed through salting, curing, fermentation, smoking, or other processes to enhance flavor or improve preservation. Most processed meats contain pork or beef, but processed meats may also contain other red meats, poultry, offal, or meat by-products such as blood.
Although some of the meats listed above are favorites to many people, the list isn't huge.
Chia, Flax, Hemp Seeds
** (Organic, Cage Free, Omega 3 enriched)
Refer to the NRDC’s wallet card to choose fish lowest in mercury: http://www.nrdc.org/health/effects/mercury/walletcard.pdf
HOW can you change your diet in a way where you still have flavor, feelings of fullness and meet your protein intake goals?
From what you have read so far, red meat and processed meats are not the only tasty protein options available. For example, you could swap out hamburgers for turkey burgers, replace steak with broiled chicken breast (with barbeque sauce for a tangy treat), enjoy grilled salmon, etc., to name a few.
You could also choose to transition away from eating meat on a daily basis by following the current Meatless Mondays trend or for increased benefits you could choose a meatless Monday, Wednesday and Friday routine; replacing meat on those days with lentils, legumes and/or plant based protein options such as tempeh or tofu. You could also add protein powder to green drinks at the start of your day and at mid-day for an afternoon snack.
If cancer runs in your family it might be worth considering transitioning to a pescatarian, vegetarian or vegan lifestyle.
You could also just avoid eating red meat and processed meats, meaning you eat it occasionally. If you choose this option, keep in mind these meats are still carcinogenic (cancer causing) and moderation is certainly key.
Although learning that bacon, ham and sausage have been added to the same group classification as cigarettes and asbestos may not seem like a gift today; this knowledge is powerful. We now know daily intakes greater than 50 grams of processed meats and greater than 100 grams of red meat can pack a cancerous punch. With this information you are empowered to make informed food choices that can positively impact your health and the health of those you love!
"IARC Monographs Evaluate Consumption of Red Meat and Processed Meat." Https://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/pr/2015/pdfs/pr240_E.pdf. International Agency for Research on Cancer, 26 Oct. 2015. Web.
"Q&A on the Carcinogenicity of the Consumption of Red Meat and Processed Meat." Http://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/iarcnews/pdf/Monographs-Q&A_Vol114.pdf. International Agency for Research on Cancer, Oct. 2015. Web.