When I started my health journey three years ago, I read many articles that stated that processed meats cause cancer. Dr. Fuhrman has been saying it for years. Dr. Oz just mentioned it in an episode last week. But when the World Health Organization (WHO) says that processed meats cause cancer, suddenly people are listening.
Processed meats include foods primarily in the beef and pork families, such as sausage, bacon, pepperoni and corned beef, but it can also include foods like chicken nuggets. Luncheon meats unless you are purchasing turkey or chicken breast, are probably processed meats.
I'd be crazy to think the announcement will make much of a difference in the average American diet. Can you imagine people refusing hot dogs at baseball stadiums or giving up their favorite pepperoni pizza? I don't think they will as the announcement about these meats causing cancer is not news. Americans have heard this before and didn't change their eating habits. Maybe the World Health Organization makes the claim legitimate, but did you honestly think hot dogs were good for you in the first place?
If you think about the phrase "processed meat", it should give you a clue that it's bad. Anything processed, from cookies to packaged macaroni & cheese to bologna, they all have additives in them. It's obvious if you consume cookies in mass quantity everyday, you'll gain weight, possibly develop diabetes and raise your chance of getting cancer. Processed meats are no different.
It's up to the consumer to figure out what the fine line is of what is considered a moderate amount of these meats. Eating an occasional hot dog at a baseball game will most likely not cause cancer. But eating two a day for multiple days a week might be a different story. It's about moderation. If anything good comes out of the World Health Organization's announcement today is that people will learn to enjoy these foods in moderation instead of an everyday thing.
The World Health Organization also announced that red meat might cause cancer but didn't add them to the list of known cancer contributors. I don't want to debate whether red meat causes cancer or not. This is up to the consumer. There's strong arguments for meat both positive and negative. But processed meat is a no brainer. It should be treated like soda or candy. If you want to consume it, don't do it everyday. If you eat bacon occasionally, you will lower your chance of getting it versus the person who consumes it everyday.