Bring Home the Bacon… but less of it please.

Posted by on Nov 9, 2015 in Featured, Health, Short Entries | Comments Off on Bring Home the Bacon… but less of it please.

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bacon-737245_1920At the end of October, the World Health Organization (WHO) unwittingly upset the carnivore world by releasing scientific evidence that bacon causes cancer[1], or more specifically processed meats and possibly red meat in general. But how is this possible?

Processed meat simply means that it has been modified to either extend its shelf-life or change the taste, through smoking, curing, salting or adding preservatives. Researchers believe that the Chinese started salting pork in 1,500 BC as a means of extending its shelf-life through the harsh winters. In the middle ages in Britain, bacon consumption was restricted to peasants only because it’s made primarily from the cheap fatty parts of the pig, but only once or twice a week.

And then along came Oscar Mayer in the 20s revolutionizing the meat industry by pre-packaging all kinds of different processed meats, including hot dogs, sausages, corned beef and bacon, making it easier to consume even more. Which we did! In the last 4 years, North Americans have consumed more bacon than ever – in 2013, it made over $4 billion in sales.

This is why scientists have decided to take a closer look at just how good these strips of greasy deliciousness are for us. Which brings us to the newest reports: the chemicals involved in making processed meats – including the sodium nitrite found in the brine – along with high temperature cooking, such as on a barbeque which creates carcinogenic chemicals, could be increasing the risk of cancer.

And this last point is why bacon has been placed in Group 1 of carcinogens, the same category as smoking, causing much ire among the salted-smoky meat-loving community.

So is bacon really as bad as smoking? Smoking increases your risk of lung cancer by 2,500%; eating 2 slices of bacon a day increases your risk of colorectal cancer by 18 percent[2]. So even if you ate more than 10 pieces of bacon a day, you still wouldn’t be at the same risk level as a smoker.

The key here is MODERATION – lots of things are bad for you if done in excess, including exercise, but a few pieces of salted goodness once or twice a week are not going to land you on the slab at the morgue any sooner. Just make sure to balance them out with some great colon cleansers like dark leafy greens!






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