According to the World Health Organization, bacon, sausage, and other processed meats are as harmful to the human body as cigarette smoke and asbestos.
As was hypothesized would happen, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Monday that bacon, sausage, and other processed meats are as harmful to the human body as cigarettes and asbestos, which are known carcinogens.
According to the WHO’s new report, processed meats cause cancer, and red meat likely causes cancer.
The Washington Post reports that twenty-two scientists were invited by the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer to assess the association between more than sixteen types of cancer and the consumption of red meat and processed meat.
The scientific panel spent seven days in early October examining more than 800 epidemiological studies from the U.S., Europe, Japan, Australia, and elsewhere. Multiple ethnicities and global diets were reviewed during the study which was published in the journal Lancet Oncology.
On October 26th, the WHO group “classified consumption of processed meat as ‘carcinogenic to humans’ on the basis of sufficient evidence for colorectal cancer,” PBS reports.
Cancer of the colon is the second most lethal form of cancer in the United States, responsible for 50,000 deaths per year. Because “knowledge is power,” hopefully this news will inspire millions to take preventative action and adopt a plant-based diet for their health and the good of the planet.
According to the group’s findings, red meat carries a slightly lower risk than processed meat, but it is still “probably carcinogenic to humans.” Processed meat is linked to a higher incidence of stomach cancer.
In addition, the “consumption of red meat was also positively associated with pancreatic and with prostate cancer.”
Processed meat now falls into “group 1,” which means it ranks as high as tobacco smoking, the most dangerous variants of human papillomavirus (HPV) and asbestos exposure in terms of causing cancer. Red meat is classified as a “group 2A” carcinogen.
With this news, a definite assertion has been made on the connection between eating meat and cancer. Many studies in recent years have linked to the two activities, but no source has outright stated what the WHO declared this week.
Don’t expect the beef industry to accept the organization’s recent findings, however. Said Shalene McNeill, executive director of human nutrition at the national Cattlemen’s Beef Association, to the Washington Post:
“We simply don’t think the evidence support any causal link between any red meat and any type of cancer.”
Regardless, the organization’s new position aligns with the views of other health agencies like the World Cancer Research Fund, which has said there is convincing evidence that processed meats cause bowel cancer.
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