Too much salt beef can hurt you
Eat foods in moderation
If you’re like a lot of Newfoundlanders you enjoy an occasional jiggs dinner with plenty of salt beef in the mix and you enjoy a bit of salt beef with a turkey dinner.
However, according to a study by doctors at Memorial University’s School of Medicine, we should not eat a lot of salt beef as a high consumption of the product might lead to colorectal (ko-lo-rec-tal) cancer.
The study, which was released online on May 27 in ‘Cancer Causes Control’, shows that pickled red meat consumption is significantly associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer.
Colorectal cancer is the third most common type of cancer in Canadian men and women and is exceeded only by lung cancer and breast cancer. People in Newfoundland and Labrador have the highest rate of colorectal cancer at 86 per 100,000 compared to a national average of 62 per 100,000.
Dr. Peter Wang, the principal investigator of the study, said, “It is generally believed that dietary habits are a major contributor to colorectal cancer and are responsible for at least 30 per cent of colorectal cancer cases.
“However, little is know about how the effects of red meat intake on colorectal cancer vary across populations and the association between pickled reed meat and colorectal cancer has not been adequately examined.”
However, Dr. Wang did report that the study shows a positive association between the consumption of pickled meat and colorectal cancer. The report shows, too, that the more salt beef one consumes, the higher the risk is of that individual getting colorectal cancer.
Dr. Wang said that two common pickled meats in the provincial diet are trimmed naval beef and cured pork riblets. These meats include sodium nitrite as one of the preserving agents, and it has been suggested that nitrite/nitrate compounds can be converted to carcinogenic compounds.
Dr. Barbara Roebotham, is a dietician, a researcher and teaches at Memorial’s School of Medicine. She was one of the doctors who worked on the study that links the consumption of salt beef to colorectal cancer.
Dr, Roebotham said, “ When we looked at diet we looked at all kinds of foods that people consume. One of the things that seemed to be linked with colorectal cancer was that the highest rates of colorectal cancer was among people who had consumed a lot of salt beef.”
“A very important point to realize in this,” Dr. Roebotham said, “is that people who consume moderate to small amounts of salt beef don’t seem to be affected at all by their intake of the food. The bad news is mainly for people who consume a lot of the product.
“In addition, this type of study or data can’t give you cause and effect, our research can’t say for certain that people who consume salt beef will get colorectal cancer. The colorectal cancer a person may have, who did consume a lot of salt beef, may not have actually been caused by the consumption of that particular food. All it says is that people who consume a whole lot of the food have a higher risk of getting the disease than people who consume moderate t o small amounts.”
Dr. Roebotham said that some of the causes of colorectal cancer in Newfoundland and Labrador might be due to a genetic predisposition in some families, which means that this type of cancer might run in some families.
She said that this research or study tell us two important points about colorectal cancer.
“People from families which have an history of colorectal cancer should not give up just because it is in their family. There are significant things people can do to lower their chances of getting colorectal cancer such as eating a varied diet and exercising,” she said.
“Another point to realize is that we’ve got to eat things in moderation, that we should eat a varied diet and not just focus on one or two main foods.”
Dr. Roebotham said that she hopes that no one became stressed out over the report and is now worried about eating any salt beef at all.
“ There’s no need for anyone to actually give up eating salt beef altogether as small or moderate amounts of the food will probably do you no harm at all.”
Dr. Roebotham, a Newfoundland girl who likes the occasional meal of salt beef, said, “I will still be having the occasional meal of salt beef, but I will eat it in moderation as part of a well balanced healthy diet.”
A study by doctors at Memorial University’s School of Medicine, we should not eat a lot of salt beef as a high consumption of the product might lead to colorectal (ko-lo-rec-tal) cancer.