WHO says Processed Meats May Cause Cancer

If you’ve paid any attention to social media in the past couple of years, bacon has been a major fad lately. From memes to chocolate covered bacon to bacon-infused alcohol, bacon has become very popular. Unfortunately, the World Health Organization may have just killed the bacon movement.

The average American consumes approximately a whopping 18 pounds of bacon a year. This week, the WHO announced that processed and cured meats, which includes bacon, sausage, hot dogs and ham cause cancer. The organization added these foods to its list of top cancer causing substances that includes cigarettes, asbestos, and arsenic.

There is a link to the carcinogenic ingredients in these foods and bowel cancer. This comes from a report from the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer. The inclusion of these products on the list does not, however, indicate that they cause cancer to the same degree as tobacco.

Even if there is a link between bacon and cancer, the WHO does state that the chances of getting cancer from eating bacon or other processed meats is still relatively small. They did, however, state that the more of these products a person consumes increases the risk.

The agency did report some numbers to indicate just how much bacon might increase a person’s risk for cancer. If eaten daily, a 50 gram portion of bacon increases a person’s risk of bowel cancer by 18%. For those without a kitchen scale, a 50 gram portion is the equivalent of about three slices.

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