In humans, they found the link between red and processed meat intake and cancer to be relatively small in magnitude but consistent.

"Therefore, it may still present a serious public health impact," said a team of researchers from Norwegian University of Life Sciences and Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters in Oslo.

Though, there is a silver lining. Other foods, in cooperation with the bacteria that live in the gut, may protect the gut. So any potential adverse effects of meat may become less pronounced or may even be fully prevented, the study said.

The team said that science does not yet have a full understanding of how food that we eat affects our gut and health.

"To get a better grip on this complex issue, it is necessary to have an improved measures of how much meat people eat, the composition of the meat they eat and how this affects the risk that cancer develops," said the researchers.

At the same time, efforts to make meat healthier in general needed to continue, they said.


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