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On Monday, the World Health Organization (WHO) released to the public, information supporting the claim that processed foods can cause cancer. In the report it says that a person’s chances of developing colorectal [bowel] cancer rises to 18% when consuming 50g of processed meat a day. Compare that to bacon slices and you’ll get less than two slices of bacon! Although, the risk for developing various cancers are small the frequency in which these meats are consumed are increasing in low and middle income countries.
Epidemiological studies were done by an international health agency committee in 2014. From the studies, it showed that eating read meat or processed meat increased the risk of several cancers. The findings resulted in marking red meat and processed meat as high priority for evaluation by the IARC Monograph Programme (IARC stands for “International Agency for Research on Cancer”). These types of foods are now in the same category as cigarettes and alcohol- as a cancer causing agent.
These latest findings in health news are not exclusive to the processed beef and chicken patties, sold in fast-food restaurants. The WHO defines it as any foods transformed through salting, smoking, fermenting, or any “other process to enhance flavor or improve preservation”, such as ham, sausage, bacon, cold cuts, and hot dogs. Red meats include meet such as beef, lamb, pork, veal, or any other type of muscle meat found in mammals.
It is no secret that red meat has nutritional value such as iron and B-vitamins. So does that mean it is safe to eat? Or should we stay away from it? According to Dr. Christopher Wilds, Director of IARC, the public should limit its intake of red meat.
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