Barbecues and your Health
Barbecues, red meat and cancer – a message from Cure Cancer Australia’s Chief Executive Officer, Floyd Larsen
Barbecuing is a much loved Australian tradition. Why? Because it's a great way to get your loved ones together to share good food and enjoy our beautiful weather.
That’s why Cure Cancer Australia have developed BARBECURE; a nationwide initiative designed to drive awareness and raise funds to support Australia’s brightest early-career cancer researchers as they work towards finding a cure.
Cure Cancer Australia’s decision to launch BARBECURE was not taken without considerable internal and external discussion and debate. We spent a long time discussing:
- The World Health Organisation’s October 2015 report into carcinogenicity of the consumption of red meat and processed meat.
- Concerns that BARBECURE might be perceived to be encouraging the consumption of red meat or processed meat.
- The need for BARBECURE to encourage healthy eating regardless of dietary preferences.
Key Issues Included:
We consulted widely within our community, discussing the pros and cons with our researchers and medical experts, and came to the conclusion that we should proceed with BARBECURE under the following provisions:
- All material prepared by Cure Cancer Australia to promote BARBECURE will encourage a balanced, healthy diet.
- Data and statistics on specific issues including over consumption of red meat and processed meat and the cancer causing effects of eating burnt or charred food to be readily available and easily accessible on the BARBECURE website.
- Recognition of the need to be inclusive of ALL diets and provision of a wide range of healthy recipes.
- BARBECURE would serve a number of purposes: raise much-needed funds for cancer research; raise awareness of the importance of consuming a balanced diet and avoiding processed meats and burnt or charred foods; raise the profile of Cure Cancer Australia and the work that we do.
Despite the concerns about meat and cancer, it is important to bear in mind that lean red meat is a fantastic source of to dietary iron, zinc, vitamin B12 and protein . With that in mind, we recommend consuming no more 455g of cooked lean red meat per week. We also recommend avoiding processed meats and burnt or charred meat. Instead, opt for lean cuts of meat and chicken, and include plenty of fish, plant based foods and cereals in your diet.
We hope that you will turn your next barbie into a BARBECURE, and use the opportunity to have fun and fund research. Remember, a BARBECURE can be anything you want it to be, from a backyard, beach, black tie or corporate event. It doesn't even have to be a barbecue if you don't want it to be! All that matters is that you're raising funds to support Australia's brightest early-career researchers in their search for a cure.
- Guide to Health Grilling - American Institute for Cancer Research
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Fish and Cancer Prevention – Cancer Council NSW Position Statement
- Q&A on the carcinogenicity of the consumption of red meat and processed meat - World Health Organisation
- Lifestyle risk factors and the primary prevention of cancer - Cancer Australia, Australian Government Position Statement