Eating Less Meat May Affect Women's Health

22/02/2011 10:23 | Updated 22 May 2015

lady-gaga-meat-dressThis is one lady who's not looking anaemic. Photo: AFP/Getty Images, Mark Ralston.

A government-commissioned report is expected to recommend this week that we limit the amount of meat we eat in order to reduce our risk of bowel cancer. But meat industry experts have come out fighting, claiming women in particular are at risk of developing iron deficiency if they cut down.

If the reports are right, the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) will advise Brits to stick to 500g of red or processed meat a week. But experts working for the Meat Advisory Panel (MAP) are warning women not to take the advice.

Speaking in the Daily Telegraph, dietician Dr Carrie Ruxton, a member of the MAP, claims: "We've already got 50% of women in this country who have iron intakes below the absolute minimum in your diet. Are we going to have more women who are going to be iron deficient because of this sort of advice?"

Not getting enough iron in your diet can lead to a condition called anaemia, the main symptoms of which are general tiredness, weakness, lightheadedness and tingling in the fingers.

However, while lean red meat is possibly the best source of iron, there are many alternative ways of getting iron in your diet - something many of the 1.8 million estimated vegetarians in this country, who eat no meat as opposed to a limited amount of meat, know well.

So if you are considering cutting down slightly on meat as a result of the SACN's expected advice, you can get additional iron from beans, pulses, seeds, fortified breakfast cereals, nuts, dried fruit and green leafy vegetables, washed down with fruit juice (the vitamin C helps with iron absorption).

But surely the message here is that moderation is the key where diet is concerned? What do you think?

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