Report: Processed Meat Causes Cancer
Before you reach for more bacon, you might want to consider this: the World Health Organization recently discovered eating processed meat can lead to bowel cancer.
The France-based International Agency for Research on Cancer(IARC), which is part of the WHO, added processed meat such as hot dogs and ham to its group 1 list where it joins tobacco, asbestos and diesel fumes — you know, really awful things that already prove to be cancerous.
“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.
The risk of cancer is linked to the consumption of red meat — beef, lamb and pork — which the IARC classified as a “probable” carcinogen in its group 2A list — a list that includes glyphosate, the active ingredient in many weedkillers. Yuck.
According to the new release, “the experts concluded that each 50 gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%.”
This recent assessment of meat is the first of its kind for the IARC, which reviewed some 800 studies, and found red meat was mostly linked with bowel cancer and had associations with pancreatic and prostate cancers.
The consumption of red meat has long been linked to cancers of the colon and pancreas, and last year a new Harvard study linked diets high in red meat to breast cancer in women.
The IARC’s report could have huge implications for the meat industry, especially since it cites an estimate from the Global Burden of Disease Project that 34,000 cancer deaths per year worldwide are attributable to diets high in processed meat. The organization went onto say that if the link between cancer and red meat could be confirmed, then diets rich in red meat could be responsible for 50,000 deaths a year worldwide — that’s compared with about 1 million cancer deaths per year globally due to tobacco smoking, 600,000 a year due to alcohol consumption, and more than 200,000 each year due to air pollution.
Bottom line: eat a plant-based diet, people. Your health depends on it.