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Study: Here is the hidden killer in alcohol, sausage and bacon

Alcohol, bacon and sausage are still dangerous in any amounts, according to a new worldwide guideline on overcoming cancer.

According to the guidelines contained in the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) recommendations updated every ten years, even small amounts of processed meat and alcohol can still increase the risk of a number of cancers.

In a report dubbed: Diet, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Cancer: a Global Perspective, WCRF predicted that fat will become the leading cancer risk within 20 years, overtaking smoking.


The report is billed as a “comprehensive package of behaviours” that are the “most reliable blueprint available for living healthy to reduce cancer risk”.

The latest cancer research update released on May 24, 2018 at the European Congress on Obesity in Vienna, includes a published a 10-point plan to reduce the risk of developing cancer by up to 40 per cent. The report is a follow up to earlier studies done in 1997 and 2007 respectively.

In the largest ever worldwide study of the causes of cancer, researchers analysed the lifestyle habits and medical history of 51 million people. 3.5 million of these study subjects were diagnosed with cancer.

In addition to previously listed cancers of bowel, breast, gall bladder, kidney, oesophagus, pancreas and womb which are directly caused by obesity, cancers affecting the throat, prostate, liver, stomach and ovary were also included.

“There is no level of consumption below which there is no increase in the risk of at least some cancers. Even small amounts of alcoholic drinks can increase the risk of some cancers,” the report said, pouring cold water on previous studies that have highlighted the benefits of taking alcohol in small amounts.

“No level of intake can confidently be associated with a lack of risk of bowel cancer,” the report added.

WCRF research findings linked alcohol consumption to a higher risk of six cancer types and added stomach cancer to its previous list of cancers of the bowel, breast, oesophagus, liver and throat.


Additionally, the WCRF recommended the drinking of water or sugar free beverages.

Medical experts believe that eating processed meat is associated with bowel cancer, in addition to causing people to become overweight, a gateway to other types of cancer. Cutting down on steak and other red meat such as lamb or pork can reduce the risk of bowel cancer.

WRCF director of research, Dr Giota Mitou, said the scientists had decided to recommend water and the elimination of sweetened drinks.

“We are making for the first time separate recommendations on sugar-sweetened drinks and the recommendation is to drink water and unsweetened drinks and to limit consumption of fast foods and other processed foods,” said Dr Mitou.

He added: “When we talk about cancer prevention, the strong evidence is that we need to follow a package of lifestyle behaviours. Individuals need to follow as many of these recommendations as possible.”

The medic also sounded a warning on processed meat, saying the best lifestyle choice was to stop eating it altogether.


“The best advice is not to eat processed meat. The risk does increase with consumption,” he said.

Staying physically active directly protects against three cancers – bowel, breast and womb. Experts say exercise helps prevent individuals from becoming overweight, a risk factor for most cancers.

Cancer linked to obesity can also be avoided by reducing refined fruit juice and drinking water instead of fizzy drinks as well as eating fruit, vegetables and beans daily.

Cancer Research UK however said that eliminating meat and alcohol from the diet would not significantly reduce the risk of getting cancer.

“Building small changes into your daily life, like choosing sugar-free drinks or walking more, can add up to a big difference for your healthA bacon sandwich or glass of wine every so often isn’t anything to worry about, it’s the things you do every day that matter most Prof Linda Bauld, UK cancer prevention expert said.