Love your bacon in the morning? Or a cold cut sandwich for lunch? It may be time to reconsider your eating habits amid the World Health Organization’s recent report.
On Monday, the organization’s cancer agency announced that processed meats — and red meat — raise the risk of colon, stomach and other cancers. Scientists evaluated more than 800 studies from around the world that look at types of cancer among diverse diets.
"For an individual, the risk of developing colorectal cancer because of their consumption of processed meat remains small, but this risk increases with the amount of meat consumed," Dr. Kurt Straif of the IARC said in a statement. "In view of the large number of people who consume processed meat, the global impact on cancer incidence is of public health importance."
The report did not specify how much processed meat is too dangerous, but the risk grows as more meat is consumed. Eating two slices of ham a day — which is approximately 50 grams — can increase the risk of cancer by 18 percent.
WHO referenced research by the Global Burden of Disease Project which suggests that 34,000 cancer deaths per year are linked to processed meat-heavy diets. One million deaths from cancer are linked to smoking, 600,000 to alcohol consumption and 200,000 to air pollution a year.
The meat industry rejects the analysis and said cancer diagnoses are not linked to a specific food, according to the Associate Press.
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(Photo: Day, Alice/the food passionates/Corbis)