An EU-funded research project is currently underway, aiming to make sausages, patties, and other meat products healthier by increasing their antioxidant content.
The recent classification of processed meat as a Group 1 carcinogen , and red meat as likely carcinogenic by the World Health Organization (WHO) has caused many people to search for alternative healthy products.
Researchers from Lund University, Sweden and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, together with other research institutions within the EU, are involved in a collaborative project aiming to reduce the risk of colon cancer in Sweden. While the recommendation to reduce consumption of processed meat has been made, meat is a source of protein and other minerals necessary for optimal health. The project therefore aims to reduce the amount of oxidation in processed meat products, in an attempt to make them healthier. The researchers suggest that reducing the oxidation of the meat will in turn reduce the risk of colon cancer. In order to reduce oxidation, the research team will extract antioxidants from plants and berries, which will then be used in the production of the meat products. The team aims to assess the risk of consuming this alternative meat on the risk of colon cancer in animal models.
The researchers hope to demonstrate that adding antioxidants to meat will reduce the risk of colon cancer. According to their hypothesis, the researchers suggest that eating a well-balanced diet, high in antioxidant-rich foods will reduce risk of colon cancer, despite consumption of meat products. In addition, they suggest that producing meat products to contain high levels of antioxidants may also be an option, to ensure a higher level of antioxidants in the diet, compensating for consumption of meat products.
Lund University News Release: “Sausages with antioxidants from berries to prevent cancer” Available from: http://www.lunduniversity.lu.se/article/sausages-with-antioxidants-from-berries-to-prevent-cancer Last Accessed: November 11, 2015.
Written by Deborah Tallarigo, PhD