Is it Okay to Eat Red and Processed Meats?

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Recently, the WHO (World Health Organisation) released a report citing a higher risk of cancer related to the consumption of red and processed meats. Since then, the report has made its rounds on social media platforms, and some of us on the Spinefit team have even wondered if our days of eating bacon were numbered!

With concern regarding the intake of red and processed meats and its association to cancer, we asked in-house nutrition and dietetics practitioner, Vonne Goh, to share her thoughts on the topic:

Who doesn't like a good piece of steak? (Image credits: Rockpool Melbourne)

Who doesn’t like a good piece of steak? (Image credits: Rockpool Melbourne)

In society nowadays, we tend to eat a fair bit of processed meats – sausages at BBQs, ham, salami and peperoni in sandwiches and pizzas, bacon on Sunday morning are good examples. These processed meats contain a high amount of sodium and are packed with preservatives that are harmful to our body.

Red meats such as beef and lamb, on the other hand, don’t deserve the bad reputation as much because they are still a good source of protein and iron and should be eaten as part of a balanced diet. The risk of cancer arises when one eats a large amount of red meat on a daily basis, or is an advocate of “fad diets” that are heavily protein-based.

There are, of course, lifestyle changes that can significantly reduce the risk of cancer. These include higher levels of physical activity, consuming foods that are high in fibre to protect against bowel cancer, a diet high in antioxidants and keeping to a healthy weight.

So to sum up, when it comes to processed meat, minimise your intake, especially if you are at risk of and have a family history of heart issues and cancer. As for red meat, consume in moderation.

Group of friends eating together

If you’d like more information on Vonne’s thoughts above, including details of lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk of the cancer, click here to make an appointment to consult Vonne today. Alternatively, call us on 03-64193918 during our opening hours or drop us an email.


Vonne Goh is a qualified nutritionist from the University of Sydney. Having worked in the weight loss and wellness industry in Sydney for 6 years before returning to Malaysia, Vonne is also a Behaviour Change expert guiding individuals towards their desired goals. In addition to her list of qualifications, she is also a certified personal trainer from the Australian Institute of Fitness.