Processed Meats Labeled “Carcinogenic to Humans” by World Health Organization

You may want to put down your hot dog or deli meat sandwich. The World Health Organization (WHO) announced today that consuming processed meats raises the risk of cancer, particularly within the colon and stomach. In addition, the group of scientists within WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) who conducted the research, concluded that consuming red meat may also cause health problems related to cancer.

The 22 scientists from IARC in Lyon, France analyzed over 800 studies about meat and cancer relations from several continents from the last two decades. Based on the evaluations, IARC classified processed meat, defined as any meat that has been transformed to preserve its flavor, as “carcinogenic to humans.”

The IARC cannot confirm based on their research right now exactly how much meat is too dangerous, but a handful of the studies that were analyzed suggested that a 50-gram daily portion of processed meat increases the risk of colorectal cancer over a lifetime by about 18 percent.

“For an individual, the risk of developing colorectal cancer because of their consumption of processed meat remains small, but this risk increases with the amount of meat consumed,” Dr. Kurt Straif of the IARC said in a statement. “In view of the large number of people who consume processed meat, the global impact on cancer incidence is of public health importance.”

Red meat, on the other hand, was deemed “probably carcinogenic” by the IARC. Many doctors, as well as the American Cancer Society, have long advised people to limit their red meat intake, but some red meats have been proven to contain important vital nutrients.

The groundbreaking research only backs what many specialists have been claiming for years, that processed meats are linked to cancer. The WHO’s findings may greatly impact public health recommendations around the globe.


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