A new study suggests that processed meat including sausages, hot dogs and bacon may boost colon cancer risk. The study, which was led by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, also found that red meat may be a primary cause for prostate and pancreatic cancers.
IARC experts recently put processed meats on a “carcinogenic to humans” list where cigarette smoking and asbestos are also featured. The list includes only items that were proven harmful to people through ‘sufficient evidence.’
The agency reported that each 1.8 ounces of bacon or any processed meat per day hikes risk of colorectal cancer by 18 percent. In other words, 1.8 ounces mean one hot dog or two slices of bacon. On average, U.S adults eat about 0.76 ounces of processed pork every day.
Red meat, however, is on a separate list along with an active compound in many weedkillers. Red meat was described as ‘probably carcinogenic.’
During their study, IARC experts sifted through data from more than 800 studies. The data was reviewed by more than 20 health experts. Dr Kurt Straif, an IARC researcher involved in the study, explained that you do not simply get cancer because you consume processed meat. The risk of cancer increases as the amount of meat increases.
Red meat which includes beef, pork and lamb could trigger colorectal cancer, prostate and pancreatic cancer. Researchers also found associations between red meat consumption and stomach cancer. But the evidence was ‘inconclusive.’
While animal rights activists cheered at the news and PETA offered free starter kits for vegans, the meat industry deemed the findings as either ‘simplistic’ or ‘defying common sense.’
Researchers recommend limiting our consumption of such meat products. Yet their study does not suggest that processed meat is as dangerous as smoking. Putting the two on the same list does not suggest such thing.
David Wallinga of the Natural Resources Defense Council said that the recent research does not suggest halting meat consumption. Instead, people should limit their amount of meat and buy it from producers that produce it in a more natural way.
But the meat industry argues that meat provides the human body with valuable proteins and minerals. In the wake of the WHO report, however, stock of the meat industry did not collapse. The Street is confident that “there’s still going to be a lot of hot dogs sold tomorrow.”
According to an older IARC report about 34,000 cancer deaths are directly linked to diets rich in processed meat.
Image Source: Pixabay
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