Just released by the World Health Organization (WHO), processed meats are actually just as bad for you as smoking cigarettes. Eating processed meat can lead to bowel cancel in humans while red meat is likely cause of the disease, WHO experts released on today in findings that could further enliven the debate over the merits of a meat-based diet. WHO put processed meats such as hot dogs and ham in its Group 1 list of carcinogens along with tobacco, asbestos, diesel fumes–all of which is found to have strong links to causing cancer. In a statement release by Dr. Kurt Straif of the IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer, a part of the WHO) said “For an individual, the risk of developing colorectal cancer because of their consumption of processed meats remains small, but this rise increase with the amount of meat consumed.”
Red meat, under which the IARC includes beef, lamb and pork, were classified as a “probable” carcinogen in its group 2A list that also contains glyphosate, the active ingredient in many weedkillers. The agency, whose findings on meat followed a meeting of health experts earlier this month, estimated each 50 gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18 percent.
Colorectal cancer is actually the second most lethal form of cancer in the U.S., causing nearly 50,000 deaths per year, and processed meat was also linked to a higher incidence of stomach cancer.
While this study maybe good for the world to be aware of, it has the Beef Industry up in arms. According to the Washington Post, the beef industry has been preparing a rebuttal for months “We simply don’t think the evidence supports any causal link between any red meat and any type of cancer,” Shalene McNeill, executive director of human nutrition at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
So the question is should we put down red meats just as quickly as we put down cigarettes?