Report: Bacon and Red Meats Could Cause Cancer

Erin Duffin
Report: Bacon and Red Meats Could Cause Cancer

It's a sad day for Ron Swanson.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that processed meats, like bacon, sausage, and hot dogs, can cause cancer.

Also red meat, like beef, pork, and lamb, is probably cancer-inducing, and eating meat has been put in the same category for cancer risk as smoking and asbestos.

Higher Cancer Risk

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) said in a Q&A session that eating meat "eating meat has known health benefits," but that the more meat you eat, the higher your risk for cancer. Also, high temperature cooking (like grilling) increases the amount of cancer-causing compounds in the meat.

For people who eat 3.5 ounces of red and processed meat a day (which is about the size of a deck of cards), their colorectal cancer risk went up by 16 percent according to the World Cancer Research Fund. That's not a whole lot of meat.

However, it's important to keep in mind that the IARC also says that aloe vera is on the list of possible carcinogens. And meat does contain important nutritional compounds like protein, iron, and zinc.

Essentially, it's all about moderation.

Follow a Healthy Lifestyle

The best kind of diet to follow, it seems, is one that is heavy in whole, unprocessed foods with a focus on vegetables and other plant-based foods. Try and reduce the amount of meat you eat, as it's not just good for you, but also good for the environment.

It's important to keep in mind that this information is not new. And that the report isn't saying if you eat a steak every day it's the same as smoking a pack of cigarettes. It's not.

All risk of cancer is relative to your lifestyle. Cancer is also a very complicated disease that we're still working to understand. The best way to try and prevent cancer is to follow a healthy lifestyle, in whatever way that is for you.

Maybe just don't walk into a restaurant and ask for "all the eggs and bacon you have."

You can find more information on the report here and here.