In the News: Processed meat increases cancer risk

Inorganic phosphate salts – common additives used to enhance the flavour and texture of processed ham and bacon and also added to bread, cakes and cheeses – could fuel the growth of cancers according to research published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Eating large amounts of processed meat has already been linked to increased risk of bowel cancer. These latest findings from a Seoul National University Study into the impact of phosphates on mice showed that those on a high additive diet developed tumours more quickly than those on a conventional diet. Further study is required, but the researchers believe there is now enough evidence to start looking for a link between phosphates and cancer in people. They suspect that phosphates increase the growth of tumours by interfering in the chemical signals between cells.

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