British charity Cancer Research UK has encouraged people to ditch meat and adopt a vegan diet to help prevent the disease.
Cancer Research UK develops policy and funds scientists, doctors, and nurses to help “beat cancer soon.” Its overarching mission is to reduce the number of deaths from cancer.
The research and awareness charity just launched a campaign that encourages people to “Take the Veg Pledge” and go vegan or vegetarian for the month of November. The campaign aims to raise money for cancer research, but it could also benefit the health of participants, according to the charity.
“Eating lots of processed and red meat can increase the risk of bowel cancer. If you’re eating lots, it’s a good idea to try and cut down,” the charity writes on its website.
In 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified red meat — including beef, pork, lamb, and veal — as a Group 2 carcinogen, meaning it probably causes cancer in humans. WHO classed processed meat — like bacon, ham, hot dogs, sausages, and beef jerky — in the known carcinogen Group 1 category. That’s the same category as tobacco and asbestos.
Cancer and Fibre
Eating less meat could help people consume more fibre, Cancer Research UK says. “When you cut down on meat, there’s more room on your plate for high-fibre foods like veg, wholegrains, and pulses like lentils and beans which are all high-fibre foods that reduce the risk of cancer,” it explains.
Meat, by nature, contains zero grams of fibre. Earlier this year, University of Otago researchers found that fibre-rich foods could reduce the risk of several diseases. They looked at data from 185 studies to find that individuals who consume the most fibre have a 16 to 24 percent lowered risk of developing colon cancer, type 2 diabetes, and stroke. They also lower their risk of dying prematurely by 15 to 30 percent.
Cancer Research UK says taking the Veg Pledge can also help people save money, learn new recipes, become more sustainable, and raise funds for “life-saving research.”
“We receive no government funding for our research so fundraising like this really makes a difference,” Claire Natolie, senior product manager at Cancer Research UK, said to Farmers Guardian.