It’s time to dump your bacon stock portfolio! The World Health Organization released a study today which says processed meats increase the risk of colorectal cancer. It get’s worse: they also say that red meats including beef, veal, pork, goat and lamb are “probably carcinogenic”. Processed meat refers to meat that transformed through salting, curing, fermentation, smoking, or other processes to enhance flavour or improve preservation.
In October 2015, 22 scientists from ten countries met at the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France to evaluate the carcinogenicity of the consumption of red meat and processed meat. They assessed more than 800 epidemiological studies that investigated the association of cancer with the consumption of red meat or processed meats. In summary, their conclusion puts processed meats firmly into the same category for cancer risk as tobacco smoking and asbestos exposure. The report says that studies have shown someone who eats 100 grams of red meat a day raises his or her risk of colorectal cancer by 17%.
We hope that media coverage of this new report is careful to consider the appropriate real-world context: In some studies, participants who eat diets high in processed meat experience a risk for colorectal cancer that is nearly double that of non-meat-eaters. But according to the CDC, smoking cigarettes multiplies a person’s risk for cancer by as much as 20 times.”
And the IARC itself says: “Processed meat has been classified in the same category as causes of cancer such as tobacco smoking and asbestos but this does NOT mean that they are all equally dangerous.
The North American Meat Institute (what, that surprises you?), immediately jumped into damage control mode, issuing banal statements such as,
Red and processed meat are among 940 substances reviewed by IARC found to pose some level of theoretical ‘hazard.’ Only one substance, a chemical in yoga pants, has been declared by IARC not to cause cancer
Followers of the Mediterranean diet eat double the recommended amount of processed meats. People in countries where the Mediterranean diet is followed, like Spain, Italy and France, have some of the longest lifespans in the world and excellent health
Long story short, we’re all gonna die, and vegetarians will rule the earth!