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Research Findings

Save your bacon by cutting down on morning butty

Save your bacon by cutting down on morning butty

Eating processed meats such as bacon, ham, salami and some types of sausage can increase the risk of bowel cancer.

RESEARCH shows men are risking their health for the sake of a daily bacon butty.

Munching a roll and bacon with two rashers every day can increase the chance of contracting bowel cancer by a terrifying 20 per cent, according to a study by the respectedWorld Cancer Research Fund (WCRF).

Regularly eating other processed meats, such as ham, salami and some sausages, can also significantly heighten the risk.

But men are blissfully ignorant of the dangers.

Although they eat twice as much of the foods as women, they’re far less likely to realise that it could be harming their health.

Only 36 per cent were aware of the link between processed meats and bowel cancer, while 41 per cent of women knew of the danger.

Dr Rachel Thompson, the WCRF’s science programme manager, advised that even a small reduction in intake could make a big difference to cancer rates.

She said: “The evidence that eating processed meat increases bowel cancer risk is convincing and this is why we recommend that people avoid it.

“But despite the strength of the evidence, awareness levels are low and this seems to especially be the case in men.

“As men eat roughly double the amount of processed meat as women, they could make a bigger difference to their cancer risk by cutting down.”

But Dr Thompson insisted she wasn’t advocating total abstinence from bacon or ham.

She added: “It is important to emphasise that, while we recommend avoiding processed meat, this is not a question of all or nothing.

“If you do not want to give it up altogether, you can still make a real difference to your cancer risk by cutting down from, for example, having a bacon sandwich every day to only having one a couple of times a week.”

The poll of more than 2000 adults showed men eat an average of around 50g of processed meat a day – the equivalent of two rashers of bacon — compared to just 24g for women.

Around 37,000 new cases of bowel cancer are diagnosed in the UK every year.

But experts believe around one in 10 could be prevented if everyone ate 70g less processed meat every week.

That would mean cutting weekly intake by just three bacon rashers … or a couple of butties.


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