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The Role of Processed Meats in Cancer Diagnoses

November 09, 2015
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While bacon has never been the healthiest dish to make for breakfast, new studies show that processed meats are worse for us than we thought. According to a medical report issued by the World Health Organization (WHO), "every 50g of processed meats (the equivalent of two slices of bacon) consumed daily may raise the risk for colorectal cancer by 18%." Their research also showed that "diets high in processed meats may cause 34,000 deaths annually." The medical research on this report was done by a group of 22 experts to help countries give accurate advice on balanced diets. In order to fully understand the situation, lets first back up and define the basics: what exactly is a processed meat? According to an article written on the BBC News website, processed meat "has been modified to either extend its shelf life or change the taste and the main methods are smoking, curing, or adding salt or preservatives. Simply putting beef through a mincer does not mean the resulting mince is 'processed' unless it is modified further. Processed meat includes bacon, sausages, hot dogs, salami, corned beef, beef jerky and ham as well as canned meat and meat-based sauces." Processed Meats Health Research Saint James School of Medicine So, what can we do to stay healthy? Well, according to the working experts who conducted the study for WHO, it isn't about cutting out the meat entirely. The medical experts wanted to stress that meat does contain health benefits, such as iron and protein. They recommend simply cutting back and maintaining a healthy diet with occasional consumption of processed meats, if you so wish. According to one of the advisors on the report, Dr. Teresa Norat, "People should limit consumption of red meat and avoid consuming processed meat, but they should also have a diet rich in fiber, from fruit and vegetables and maintain an adequate body weight throughout life and limit the consumption of alcohol and be physically active." This study is a further reminder of the importance of an overall healthy lifestyle. If we work to stay healthy through the consumption of healthy foods, an occasional slice of ham is okay. What matters is that we focus on giving our bodies the correct nutrients and exercise we need in order to avoid the dangerous side effects of processed, unhealthy foods.
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