Are Bacon, Hot Dogs and Beef Really Carcinogens?

Fooducate   Oct 27 2015

You may have already heard the news. The World Health Organization (WHO), published the findings of a massive meta-study, correlating the consumption of processed meats with colorectal cancer. Over 800 studies from the last decades were reviewed by a team of 22 scientists working for the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a WHO subsidiary.

The findings:

* Each 1.5-ounce portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%.

* People who consumed the most processed meats – bacon, ham, hot dogs, and sausages – had a 17% higher risk of colorectal cancer compared to people who consumed the least.

* The absolute risk can be explained as follows: in the UK, 61 out of 1000 people will contract colorectal cancer in their lifetime. 66 out of 1000 habitual processed meat eaters will get ill vs. just 56 of the light eaters.

* Inconclusive evidence has tied consumption of processed meat with stomach cancer.

* Limited evidence found that increased consumption of red meat – beef, lamb, pork –  probably causes cancer.

* The preparation technique of the meat was not found to be a major factor in determining the risk level.  However, preparing meat at high temperatures or in direct contact with a flame or a hot surface, does produce more carcinogenic chemicals than other methods of cooking.

What does all this mean for the average American?

It’s simple – if you are a meat eater, try to limit your consumption of red meats and processed meats. You don’t necessarily need to abstain. However, you should eat more vegetables and fruits. Same advice as always. — Source: Boulevard et al, on behalf of IARC – Carcinogenicity of consumption of red and processed meat – The Lancet Oncology, Oct 2014

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