A link between Red Meat, Processed Meat & Colorectal Cancer?

Information for Personal Trainers and students. Red meat refers to unprocessed mammalian muscle meat and processed meat refers to meat that has been transformed through salting, curing, fermentation, smoking or other processes to improve flavour or its shelf-life. Although red meat contains a variety of valuable dietary compounds such as high biological value proteins, zinc, iron and a variety of B vitamins, concerns have been raised about its link with colorectal cancer. Much of this risk is associated with forms of processing such as curing and smoking, this leads to increased production of:

  • N-nitroso-compounds (NOC)
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH)

Furthermore, cooking practices such as high-temperature cooking by pan-frying, grilling or barbequing can increase formation of carcinogenic compounds such as:

  • Heterocyclic aromatic amines (HAA)
  • As well as PAH

Data on epidemiological studies and mechanistic evidence support a link between processed meats and colorectal cancer, and although epidemiological studies aren’t conclusive for red meat, there is mechanistic evidence that suggests a possible link. 

Many people and hard training athletes enjoy red meat as part of a balanced diet due to the fact that it is relatively low in calories and very high in protein. Lean meat also has the added benfit of making you feel fuller for longer, and this can be a great way to avoid cravings and snacking between meals. Your Personal Trainer may be able to provide guidance in this area. Many of the Personal Trainers listed on our platform have undertaken studies in nutrition and will have expertise in this field. Your Personal Trainer will be able to help you determine the correct intake of macros that you require, meaning that you can optimise the levels of protein, carbohydrates, and fats in your diet.

There is also evidence to suggest that phytonutrients found in many plant based foods can protect you from a variety of cancers and deseases, once again highlighting the importance of a balanced and varied diet.

If you are looking for a Personal Trainer, our website offers a great way to view profiles, qualifications, and reviews, in an area local to you. Simply browse the Personal Trainer listings and click the 'Contact Me' button to start a no obligation chat with a PT. You can discuss goals and rates, and even book your first session direct with a trainer.

In a future post, we will look at methods of reducing risk for those who wish to enjoy red meat as part of their diets.


Picture: Andrew Ridley @ Unsplash

Bouvard, V., Loomis, D., Guyton, K.Z., Grosse, Y., El Ghissassi, F., Benbrahim-Tallaa, L., Guha, N., Mattock, H. and Straif, K., 2015. Carcinogenicity of consumption of red and processed meat. The Lancet Oncology16(16), pp.1599-1600.

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LeadingPersonalTrainers.com blogs are written by our team of coaches, trainers, and nutritionists to help you on your way to finding the perfect trainer and staying on course with your fitness journey. Remember to discuss any specific health issues that you may have, with your medical professional and PT before starting any new exercise regime.