That headline isn’t really new news. “A Big Part of the Average American Diet Causes Cancer” has been said many times before. This time, however, it is coming from a prominent organization and is in a bit stronger language.
The research division of the World Health Organization has announced that bacon, sausage and other processed meats cause cancer, and that red meat probably does too. The report by the influential group stakes out one of the most aggressive stances against meat yet taken by a major health organization.
One component, nitrates, have been linked as a cancer risk for years. How many times have you heard that a well-balanced diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables is better for you than one that is rich in meats, let alone highly processed meats?
The fiber and nutrients from fruits and vegetables are good for all aspects of your overall health. The fact that they are many times anti-cancer in nature is also a big plus.
Yes, many folks love the taste from eating many different types of meats. But overall research has shown that your diet should be heavy in the beneficial aspects of a diet that supports heart health and doesn’t raise your cancer risks.
The WHO conclusions are based on the work of a 22-member panel of international experts that reviewed decades of research on the link between red meat, processed meats and cancer. The panel reviewed animal experiments, studies of human diet and health, and cell mechanisms that could lead from red meat to cancer.
But the panel's decision was not unanimous, and by raising lethal concerns about a food that anchors countless American meals, it will be controversial. The $95 billion U.S. beef industry has been preparing for months to mount a response, and some scientists, including some unaffiliated with the meat industry, have questioned whether the evidence is substantial enough to draw the kinds of strong conclusions that the WHO panel did.
The research into a possible link between eating red meat and cancer - colorectal cancer is a long-standing area of concern - has been the subject of scientific debate for decades. But by concluding that processed meats cause cancer, and that red meats "probably" cause cancer, the WHO findings go well beyond the tentative associations that other groups have reported.
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