World Health Organization Expected to Declare Bacon a Carcinogen

World Health Organization Expected to Declare Bacon a Carcinogen

Michelle Schoffro Cook

October 24, 2015

Don’t hate the messenger! According to one of the leading news sources in the United Kingdom, the Independent, the World Health Organization (WHO) is expected to announce that bacon, sausage and processed meats, are carcinogens. In doing so, the WHO would likely be classifying these processed food items in the same category as cigarettes and asbestos.  The announcement is anticipated to come as early as Monday, October 26, 2015. Red meat is expected to be classified as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

The announcement will undoubtedly have wide-reaching ramifications for those involved in the meat industry. But, the news doesn’t completely come as a surprise since there has been a growing body of research over recent years linking bacon, and other processed or red meats, to cancer. One study published in the journal BMC Medicine of 448,568 people found that eating processed foods like bacon, sausage, ham and other processed meats increases the risk of dying prematurely. The massive long-term study followed people in 10 European countries for 12.7 years.

Earlier this year a joint research team made up of leading worldwide cancer researchers published their research on processed meats and cancer risk. The study, published in the journal, Cancer Medicine, found a link between higher rates of colorectal cancer and pan-fried beef steaks, as well as oven-broiled short ribs or spareribs.

Frequently, bacon, sausage, luncheon meats and other beef, lamb and pork products are touted as good sources of protein, particularly in many popular weight loss programs. But, these programs miss the big picture: weight loss cannot be at the expense of overall health or contribute to diseases like cancer.

Many types of cancer are preventable. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), at least one-third of all cancers are completely preventable through diet and lifestyle. However, some cancers like those of the mouth, larynx, pharynx and esophagus are 63 percent preventable through diet and lifestyle. 59 percent of endometrial cancers and 50 percent of colorectal cancers are also completely preventable through diet and exercise, indicates the AICR.

According to the World Cancer Research Fund, there are several dietary things people can do to help reduce their cancer risk, which include:

1) Limit consumption of red meat, including beef, pork and lamb; and

2) Avoid processed meats (such as bacon, sausage, luncheon meats, etc.).

Founded in 1982, the World Cancer Research Fund is a non-profit organization and the world’s leading authority on diet, weight, physical activity and their link to cancer prevention.

Of course, exercise is also essential to any cancer-prevention program. Additionally, staying clear of known carcinogens like many pesticide (such as Monsanto’s glyphosate found in Roundup), cigarette smoke (first or second-hand) and reducing exposures to diesel fumes, many industrial chemicals and plastics (as much as possible) can help reduce the risk of cancer.

Earlier this year the World Health Organization (WHO) also declared that the pesticide glyphosate (found in Monsanto’s Roundup) is a carcinogen. This pesticide is sprayed on many food crops and is used by many people to kill weeds on their lawns.

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