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Does Bacon Really Cause Cancer? — 5 Things To Know

Mon, October 26, 2015 12:37pm EDT by Add first Comment
Can Bacon Cause Cancer
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Bacon, as well as hamburgers and other red meats, cause cancer, according to a devastating report by the World Health Organization. Here’s what you need to know about the upsetting discovery.

It is a dark day for bacon-lovers. The World Health Organization has just confirmed that many meats, including bacon, hamburgers, hot dogs and sausages, cause cancer. The discovery comes after a lengthy assessment by a group of 22 scientists from ten different countries, who got together at the International Agency for Research on Cancer, in order “to evaluate the carcinogenicity of the consumption of red meat and processed meat.” Sadly, their findings were not good for us meat-eaters. We’ve compiled five important things to know.


5. What Kind of Cancer Does Meat Cause? The scientists concluded that the regular consumption of processed meats can lead to colorectal cancer, according to their findings which were published in an article in The Lancet. This refers to cancers of the colon and/or rectum.

4. Which Meats Pose This Threat? It’s important to note that the findings don’t include all meats. Specifically, the dangerous meats are those that are “processed,” meaning bacon, sausage and hot dogs. However, other red meats aren’t in the safe zone: beef, pork, veal and lamb are “probably carcinogenic,” according to the WHO.

3. What Are the Stats? Though this definitive finding is new, there has been evidence around to support it for a while. In a 2011 literature review on colorectal cancer published by the World Cancer Research Fund, research indicated that there was a 16 percent increased risk of the disease in relation to each 100 grams of red or processed meats eaten.

2. How Dangerous Is This Threat Really? Well, very. The report actually puts the meats in the same cancer risk category as smoking tobacco and asbestos. However (!) that does not mean they pose the same danger, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which notes that aloe vera is also listed as a potential carcinogen.

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1. ‘I’ve Recently Eaten Bacon! Am I Gonna Die?’ You don’t need to pen your obituary just because you’ve recently consumed bacon. While the report is definitely daunting, it is important to maintain perspective. “Scientific evidence shows cancer is a complex disease not caused by single foods and that a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle choices are essential to good health,” said Barry Carpenter, president of the North American Meat Institute, in a statement on the findings.

Will you continue to eat bacon or are you officially done with the sizzling breakfast staple?

— Casey Mink