Friday, October 30, 2015

Processed Meats Carcinogenic To Humans, WHO Says

Human Digestion


Unhealthy Bacon: The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) says: “Processed meat was classified as carcinogenic to humans (Group 1), based on sufficient evidence in humans that the consumption of processed meat causes colorectal cancer.”
Photo Credit: Joe Raedle; Getty Images
Source: NYT

In a WHO research finding that has already proven controversial, an article, by Peter Whoriskey, in The Washington Post and many other media sites worldwide says that foods like hot dogs, bacon and other processed meats are classified as carcinogenic and thus increase the risk of colorectal cancer; and, moreover, that the consumption of red meat might cause cancer. Not surprising, beef and pork producers do not agree with the findings of the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer. [see monograph here.]

In “Hot dogs, bacon and other processed meats cause cancer, World Health Organization declares,” (October 26, 2015), Whoriskey writes:
In reaching its conclusion, the panel sought to quantify the risks. It cited studies suggesting that an additional 3.5 ounces of red meat per day raises the risk of colorectal cancer by 17 percent; eating an additional 1.8 ounces of processed meat daily raises the risk by 18 percent, according to the research cited. It also quoted figures suggesting that 34,000 cancer deaths a year worldwide were attributable to diets high in processed meats.
“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,” says Kurt Straif, an official with the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer, which produced the report. “In view of the large number of people who consume processed meat, the global impact on cancer incidence is of public health importance.”

The research into a possible link between eating red meat and cancer has been the subject of scientific debate for decades, with colorectal cancer being a long-standing area of concern. But by concluding that processed meat causes cancer, and that red meat "probably" causes cancer, the WHO findings go well beyond the tentative associations that some other groups have reported.
This is an important announcement from the world health body, which involved an international panel of 22 experts in the field, who conducted a meta-analysis of 800 studies looking at cancer on humans in the last 20 years. And while it was not unanimous, there was sufficient agreement to raise sufficient concern on the consumption of processed foods and of red meat. This news ought to give people information on how to make healthy food choices, just as knowledge about cigarette smoking has done.

I am delighted by this report, not only because, about a year ago, I made a decision to give up the consumption of processed foods and red meat, but that it confirms my reasons for doing so. I did so primarily for health reasons, having made such a decision (after reading similar scientific-medical reports) and after going through chemotherapy for colorectal cancer. Although I initially thought it would be difficult to give up hamburgers, steaks and smoked meat, it actually was fairly easy.

I feel better for it and am much healthier. Now that is good news, indeed..

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For more, go to [WashPost]

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