Bacon, hot dogs and other processed meats are linked to CANCER, UN health agency says

What do you guys think about this? Will you cut back on processed meats?

By ANGELA CHARLTON, Associated Press

PARIS (AP) — Bacon, hot dogs and cold cuts are under fire: The World Health Organization threw its global weight behind years of experts' warnings and declared Monday that processed meats raise the risk of colon and stomach cancer and that red meat is probably harmful, too.

Meat producers are angry, vegetarians are feeling vindicated, and cancer experts are welcoming the most comprehensive pronouncement yet on the relation between our modern meat-eating lifestyles and cancer.

The WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France, analyzed decades of research and for the first time put processed meats in the same danger category as smoking or asbestos. That doesn't mean salami is as bad as cigarettes, only that there's a confirmed link to cancer. And even then, the risk is small.

The results aren't that shocking in the U.S., where many parents fret over chemicals in cured meats and the American Cancer Society has long cautioned against eating too much steak and deli.

But the U.N. agency's findings could shake up public health attitudes elsewhere, such as European countries where sausages are savored and smoked ham is a national delicacy.

And they could hurt the American meat industry, which is arguing vigorously against linking their products with cancer, contending that the disease involves a number of lifestyle and environmental factors.

While U.S. rates of colon cancer have been declining, it is the No. 2 cancer for women worldwide and No. 3 for men, according to the WHO.

A group of 22 scientists from the IARC evaluated more than 800 studies from several continents about meat and cancer. The studies looked at more than a dozen types of cancer in populations with diverse diets over the past 20 years.

Based on that analysis, the IARC classified processed meat as "carcinogenic to humans," noting links in particular to colon cancer. It said red meat contains some important nutrients, but still labeled it "probably carcinogenic," with links to colon, prostate and pancreatic cancers.

The agency made no specific dietary recommendations and said it did not have enough data to define how much processed meat is too dangerous. But it said the risk rises with the amount consumed.

An analysis of 10 of the studies suggested that a 50-gram portion of processed meat daily — or about 1.75 ounces — increases the risk of colorectal cancer over a lifetime by about 18 percent.

An ounce and three-quarters is roughly equivalent to a hot dog or a few slices of bologna, though it depends on how thinly it is sliced.

Overall, the lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer in the U.S. is about 1 in 20, or 5 percent, according to the cancer society. By the WHO's calculations, having a cold-cut sandwich every day would only raise that to around 6 percent.

Experts have long warned of the dangers of certain chemicals used to cure meat, such as nitrites and nitrates, which the body converts into cancer-causing compounds. It is also known that grilling or smoking meat can create suspected carcinogens.

"For an individual, the risk of developing colorectal 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. "In view of the large number of people who consume processed meat, the global impact on cancer incidence is of public health importance."

The cancer agency noted research by the Global Burden of Disease Project suggesting that 34,000 cancer deaths per year worldwide are linked to diets heavy in processed meat. That compared with 1 million deaths a year linked to smoking, 600,000 a year to alcohol consumption and 200,000 a year to air pollution.

Doctors in rich countries especially have long counseled against eating lots of red or processed meat — and not just because of the cancer danger but because of the heart risks from the saturated fat and sodium.

I think it is junk science, the studies were self reported eating surveys with no isolation trial for meat only

it is just like the scare tactics over eggs, first they were bad now the are good for you lol
No Brainer.

I think it's old news that's just been made official. Such foods are slow killers like cigarettes.

The reaction of corporations and consumers, is akin to when smoking was pulled from advertising and laws tightened up. It's extremely challenging to consumers, due to the addition and high rate of consumption. As land clearance comes to an end and populations continue to rise, meat supplies will be in decline at any rate.

If consumption continues to prioritize profit & taste over nutrition, I suspect the future will always see a number of new foods that will warrant being banned. (as is currently the case in many non western worlds who know well the dangers of likewise foods) I think it would not be far off to start slapping health warning on packaged meats. It's crazy the way we now raise live stock, farm and process our foods.

Check out the destruction that Live stock farming is responsible for in the following doco. None of the government agencies could reason the facts as presented:

The doco "Food Matters" shows better how toxic meat really is. Cowspiracy shows more how addicted and blinded the world really is. 650Gallons of water to produce one Big Mac? Kind of makes trying to save water a bit of a joke.

It all comes down to choice. I know my colon is much better off since I drastically reduced taking in meat.

That's what I think. Thanks for asking ... good topic. :)
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Hi everyone,

My name is Alfie. I am so glad I found this thread. I recently published an article about the report by the WHO regarding processed meats. The report does make some sense but it also doesn't if you know what i mean? Anways, here's the link

I definitely do think that processed foods are very bad for us humans. Also the meat we eat these day is full of hormones, which in my opinion lead to more and more cases of cancer. I am not saying meat is bad for you, not at all, you need it. I do think however it is wise to check where you meat is coming from and how it has been treated.
Think about it, back in the days when mass production was not such a big thing as these days, people diagnosed with cancer were much lower the now.
Think about what you eat people, be careful!