The World Health Organization has just issued a new cancer warning, and it’s definitely raising some eyebrows. The WHO has declared that processed meats such as bacon, sausage, and red meat can be just as bad for you as cigarettes.
According to CNN Money:
The report outlined that simply eating 50 grams of processed meat each day — the equivalent of two slices of ham — can increase the risk of such cancer by 18%. However, the authors say the risks are relatively small to begin with.
The organization defines processed meat as any type of meat that is salted, cured or smoked to enhance its flavor or preserve it. Processed meat generally contains pork or beef, but may also contain poultry.
The WHO does acknowledge that, as with most cancer causing agents, the risk of cancer is small to begin with.
However, the meat industry is crying foul (no pun intended). Also from the CNN Money article:
“They tortured the data to ensure a specific outcome,” said Betsy Booren, vice president of scientific affairs at the North American Meat Institute.
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association said the scientists who issued the report were split on their decision to make an explicit link between red meat with cancer.
“As a registered dietitian and mother, my advice hasn’t changed,” said Shalene McNeill, an executive director at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. “To improve all aspects of your health, eat a balanced diet, which includes lean meats like beef, maintain a healthy weight, be physically active and, please don’t smoke.”