New information released by the World Health Organization has stated that processed meats are likely to cause cancer. This means that eating hot dogs, bacon, bologna, sausage, and whatnot increases a person’s risk for colorectal cancer.
Some articles have misinterpreted this new study as claiming that processed meats are just as bad for you, or just as likely to cause cancer, as smoking cigarettes because the World Health Organization placed processed meats in the same cancer risk category as tobacco. However, this system categorizes the strength of the research rather than the likelihood of a particular substance causing cancer.
Smoking cigarettes can raise a person’s risk for lung cancer by as much as 2,500 percent. However, according to the W.H.O. study, eating processed meats raises a person’s risk for colon cancer to 6 percent, which is slightly higher than the 5 percent risk for someone who does not eat processed meats getting colon cancer. Clearly, smoking cigarettes and eating sausage patties are not equally dangerous in terms of increasing a person’s risk for cancer.
That’s not to say that it’s OK to eat all the processed meat that you want to. The W.H.O. study did confirm that processed meat increases the risk for colorectal cancer. In addition to that, there are other potential risks that can come from eating too much processed meat, such as obesity and cardiovascular disease.
Cancer isn’t the only thing to consider when thinking about your health. A healthy diet should include plenty of plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables and a limited amount of red meat or processed meat. Knowing exactly how much depends on a number of factors, and will be different from person to person. Rather than guessing at what constitutes a healthy diet, meet with a physician who is knowledgeable on the subject. Staying in good health starts with staying well. Healthy diet, exercise, and regular meetings with your doctor are the foundation of wellness.