10 things you should know about WHO’s recent bacon declaration

Earlier this week, the World Health Organization released a statement declaring that bacon, sausage, hot dogs and other cured and processed meats are carcinogenic and can cause cancer in humans. Many other websites and organizations are stepping up and calling WHO’S statement a bluff. What can we believe? Here’s what we know:

  1. The World Health Organization and the International Agency for Research on Cancer performed the studies and created a press release on Oct. 26, 2015.
  2. The press release concludes that 22 experts from 10 different countries participated in agreeing that red meat consumption was “probably carcinogenic to humans (Group 2A) based on limited evidence.”
  3. From the press release, Vox concluded that there is a link between colorectal cancer and consuming massive quantities of red meat, but advises their audience that the risk of being diagnosed with cancer because of it is still remarkably low.
  4. Other cancers associated in this press release include pancreatic cancer and prostate cancer.
  5. WHO remarked that eating 50 grams, or 1.8 ounces of red, treated meats increases the risk of cancer by 18 percent.
  6. “Red meat” refers to: beef, veal, pork, lamb, mutton, horse, and goat.
    Hot Dog Eating Contest
  7. According to a chart by The Guardian, the U.S. is included as #2 on a list of the top ten countries that consume meat; Bangladesh is #10 on the bottom ten of the list.
  8. Director of the IARC, Dr. Christopher Wild also remarked, “At the same time, red meat has nutritional value. Therefore, these results are important in enabling governments and international regulatory agencies to conduct risk assessments, in order to balance the risks and benefits of eating red meat and processed meat and to provide the best possible dietary recommendations.”
  9. Though it’s difficult to gauge the exact amounts of red meat people are eating in various countries, consuming the occasional piece of bacon or horse jerky won’t give you colorectal cancer.
  10. Professor Ian Johnson of the Institute of Food Research also confirmed that the risk of contracting any of the cancers listed was low.

It’s safe to say that bacon won’t give you cancer if the amounts you eat of it are low. The World Health Organization wanted to warn people that there is a link, however modest, but really just wants you to have a varied diet that doesn’t include massive amounts of fried pig meat.

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