Is Bacon Really as Bad as Smoking?

The World Health Organization warns bacon and other processed meats can cause cancer, even now classifying processed meats in the same cancer risk category as smoking tobacco and exposure to asbestos. Studies found that bacon, ham, hot dogs and other processed meats can lead to colon, stomach and other cancers.

A group of 22 scientists from the World Health Organization evaluated more than 800 studies from several continents about meat and cancer. The studies examined more than a dozen types of cancer in populations with various diets over the past 20 years.

Researchers classified processed meat as “carcinogenic to humans,” finding links in particular to colon cancer. They found that red meat contains some important nutrients, but still labeled it “probably carcinogenic,” with links to colon, prostate and pancreatic cancers.

Analysis of 10 of the studies suggested that a 50-gram portion of processed meat daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer over a lifetime by about 18 percent.

Researchers suggest that there are over 34,000 cancer deaths per year worldwide due to diets heavy in processed meat.

The meat industry has since protested the classification, claiming that cancer isn’t caused by a specific food but also involves lifestyle and environmental factors.


MP’s Take: The findings don’t suggest that a piece of salami is as bad as a cigarette. However, over time, it can do more and more damage and eventually be on par with something like smoking. The term “processed” is the key issue here. I think the World Health Organization should be more concerned about the chemicals being pumped into the food. Like anything, you should eat meat in moderation.


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