Dubai, UAE: The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) decision to issue new guidelines about processed meats being as high-risk as asbestos and smoking in causing cancer has been welcomed by health specialists in Dubai.
Juliot Vinolia, consultant dietitian at Medeor 24/7 Hospital, Dubai, explained how processed meats become carcinogenic: “By definition, processed meats are those which are chemically modified to increase their shelf life. The process includes smoking of meats at high temperatures, adding preservative salts such as benzoates to prolong shelf life and enhance flavour and texture. Meats such as sausages, burgers and luncheon meat are included in this category. Red meat is already high in saturated fat and when it is heated at high temperatures the fat changes to transfats which are cancer-causing. Besides, the chemical content in these meats irritates the mucous membrane of the lower GI tract causing acidity, frequent stomach upsets, ulcers and thereby increasing chances of colon, bowel, bladder and stomach cancer.”
Dr Mohanad Diab, Consultant Oncologist at NMC Hospital, told Gulf News that the reason why WHO was compelled to issue these guidelines was the frequency of consumption of processed foods. “Consumers are having all kinds of processed foods every day. With a high consumption of potentially carcinogenic meat, the incidence of all kinds of cancer, particularly colorectal and bladder cancer, has gone up. We have already been advising patients to cut down on red meat per se and encourage them to have leafy green and other brightly coloured vegetables and fresh fruits. With the new guidelines to be introduced soon, this advice from doctors is only being further reinforced.”
© Gulf NewsOct 2015