Eating foods like bacon, hot dogs and or sausage can lead to bowel cancer over time. The agency estimate it takes a 50-gram portion daily to increase the odds of colorectal cancer by 18 percent.
What’s that in bacon? The average strip of bacon (thin) is around 4 grams cooked.
“For an individual, the risk of developing colorectal (bowel) cancer because of their consumption of processed meat remains small, but this risk increases with the amount of meat consumed,” Dr. Kurt Straif of the IARC said in a statement.
WHO Group 1 List
The link between processed meat and cancer earned it a spot on the group 1 list, which includes tobacco and asbestos. Bacon as dangerous as smoking or strolling through a building with asbestos? If that’s the case, shouldn’t half of the country be dead?
Industry groups were none too pleased with the linkage. The North American Meat Institute pounced on the IARC report, saying it ‘defies common sense.’
Suppliers were quick to point out meat provides vitamins, minerals and protein.
Bowel cancer wasn’t the only cancer observed by the IARC. Associations were found between processed meat and pancreatic and prostate cancer.
Red Meat and Cancer
In addition to the processed meat classification, red meat was placed in the group’s 2A list. The classification means all red meat is ‘possibly carcinogenic.’
Red meat is defined by the WHO as all types of mammalian meat, including beef, lamb and pork. Only scientists could make a steak sound unappealing.
The IARC used an estimate from the Global Burden of Disease Project, which attributes 34,000 cancer deaths to diets high in processed meats.
The report gets the headlines of placing bacon next to asbestos as cancer causing. Is that real? It comes down to how much processed meat you are consuming a day. Remember the 50 grams? One strip of bacon is 4 grams.
Like everything, it comes down to moderation. Having bacon some mornings isn’t going to put you six feet under.
Eating processed meat every day, all day? Not the best idea diet wise. Besides, have you ever ate hot dogs for dinner and thought ‘I feel great?’ No, you eat them off the grill and wonder later ‘why the hell you ate that?’
It gets me every time. And apologies to the IARC researchers. I may have had a couple strips of bacon this morning. Sorry, it’s just so damn good…