In Worst News Ever, Bacon Said To Cause Cancer
Why must science continue to ruin the things we love?
The World Health Organization announced Monday that processed meats, such as bacon and sausage, cause cancer. We’re really, really sorry to be reporting this.
In a report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the WHO, processed meats have been reclassified into “Group 1,” “carcinogenic to humans.” This reclassification means there is “sufficient evidence” within the scientific community to show eating large quantities of red meat raises the risk of bowel cancer in humans. The IARC based its report on more than 800 studies from around the world.
Group 1 includes other well-known cancer-causing substances, such as tobacco and asbestos. But it’s important to note that just because red meat is in the same “Group” as these things, eating red meat is not as bad as smoking or inhaling asbestos.
Processed meats had previously been classified in “Group 2A,” meaning “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
So how bad is bacon? Well, if eating in moderation, not too bad, but for those who eat it regularly, you might be increasing your risk of cancer by nearly 20 percent.
The IARC report concluded that for every 50g of processed meat – roughly two slices of bacon – the risk for colorectal cancer can jump 18 percent.
“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,” said Dr. Kurt Straif, the lead scientist behind the IARC report.
So how small? The chances of getting colorectal cancer without eating 50g of bacon per day is .064 percent. When consuming bacon, that number jumps to .072 percent.
Small yes, but the 20% bump is significant.
Now, before you get too worried and decide to cut out bacon all-together, one doctor assures us things aren’t quite so bad for bacon.
Dr. Ian Johnson, a nutrition researcher at the Institute of Food Research, said the effect of eating bacon versus not eating it is not statistically significant.
“The effect is smaller than, for example, that of cigarette smoking on the risk of lung cancer. … There is little or no evidence that vegetarians in the UK have a lower risk of bowel cancer than meat-eaters.”
Rejoice! It looks like we may be in the clear after all. Well, at least on the cancer-front. It’s still not the most healthy option, folks. Remember, everything in moderation.