Chances are you’ve heard the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a branch of the World Health Organization, has ranked red meat among the list of deadly carcinogens.
Through research conducted in 10 countries by 22 experts who studied more than 800 cases of cancer, based on “limited evidence that the consumption of red meat causes cancer in humans and strong mechanistic evidence supporting a carcinogenic effect,” WHO has determined that processed meat causes cancer, and red meat probably causes cancer, too.
Not that we don’t care or believe the data – most of us on the editorial board are very fond of red meat, bacon especially – but when we came across this piece of information, we couldn’t help but laugh.
News and health organizations, as well as avid bloggers, have a knack for hyping up topics that we, as an editorial board, simply don’t deem worthy of the hype. Sure, WHO may have found evidence that processed meats can cause cancer, but so does sunshine, smoking and air pollution. In comparison, meat just doesn’t seem to deserve as much attention. All this report has really done is scare people into thinking about becoming vegetarians, which is completely unnecessary considering the fact that the risk involved in eating red meat is fairly insignificant; it won’t kill you, not immediately anyway.
Compared to tobacco smoking, which causes about a million deaths a year, and alcohol, which causes about 600,000 deaths a year, diets high in processed meats result in about 34,000 cancer deaths a year.
Eating a few slices of bacon for breakfast doesn’t have the same effects on the body as smoking a pack a day or exposing yourself to the sun’s ultraviolet rays for hours on end. And even though we know the risks that come from doing said activities, there are still people in the world who smoke religiously and sunbathe every summer. That being said, what’s going to stop humans from indulging in their favorite lunch meats?
Too much of anything will be bad for you, and there’s research stating that just about everything causes cancer. We get closer to death every day, and cutting processed foods out of your diet can only increase your longevity, as will limiting your time out in the sun and quitting that nicotine addiction, but it probably won’t be as effective as the latter. Especially if you already avoid those things along with the long list of other things that can slowly kill you.
We’re all dying, so we say eat that double bacon cheeseburger and have no regrets. And if it happens to be organic, grass-fed beef and organic, free-range pork, even better. Who knows, you might have just added a day to your life.
But more importantly, there are more prominent issues we should be focusing on, such as the hurricane that recently wreaked havoc in Mexico. So how is it that such an event can so easily be overshadowed by bacon and bologna? We’re not sure how, either.