Bacon and smoked meat lovers around the world received a blow from the a new study from the World Health Organization.
Bacon is now a Class 1 Carcinogen, along with other processed meats, essentially putting them in the same club as tobacco, asbestos, and plutonium.
The study involved 22 scientists from all over the world, who examined 800 other studies.
The bottom line? Consuming too much bacon, or cured deli meats, potentially increases your risk of bowel and colorectal cancer.
How does this change the way we should be eating?
Simi Sara spoke with Kate Comeau with Dieticians of Canada to help break down the study.
Comeau says that while the new study from the WHO is more emphatic than those done before, it’s not new knowledge that processed foods can be bad for your health. She says the real question is how to convince people to reduce consumption of processed meat. Besides consuming a lot of bacon and breakfast sausages, Canadians like their smoked meat.
“Looking at food blogs and in the media, there’s also a push towards artisanal meats. So cured charcuterie, and going to restaurants and having a charcuterie platter is quite trendy.”
Comeau says the study encompasses all processed meats, including high-quality ones.
“We do know there seems to be something in red meat itself…but there’s also something about the processing; the smoking, the curing, that’s been done that actually is associated with increased risk.”
So how much is too much?
15 grams. Which is just a few slices of ham – something you might find in your average lunch sandwich.
Comeau says that a lot of school age children are consuming too much smoked meats, due to it being a typical sandwich filler. She recommends trying to find other lunch options.
“Ensuring that you’re limiting your consumption of processed meats and choosing a variety of meats and lots of plant-based proteins. Things like nuts and lentils and legumes as much as possible.”