If you haven’t already heard, the most recent study conducted by the WHO Administration has found a link between processed red meats and cancer.
Conclusions like this were bound to make national headlines, with various news outlets and independent food blogs calling for the end of processed meats, as well as the exorcism of all meats in a family fridge. However, are these claims something we should really be scared about? Are these claims worthy enough for us to throw away all the red meat we bought for the upcoming weekend’s NFL games? I don’t think so, and here’s why.
1. There is a link, but it is very small and very minuscule.
The WHO can say, “there is a link between processed meats and cancer” even if there is the slightest hint of a connection. And that’s what they did. The connection that has been made between processed red meats and its cancer-causing effects are real, but they are very small. Compare cigarette smoking for instance. Smoking a cigarette raises your risk of lung cancer by 2,500%. That’s significant.
Now, compare that to processed red meats, in which a diet (of too much) processed red
meats can increase the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%. Now, don’t get me wrong, 18% is still 18% too high in terms of risking your life, but what are the important takeaways?
2. Moderation is KING!
Moderation is not just key, it’s KING.
Eating everything in moderation is the secret to sustaining balance not only in your diet, but also in your body. So does processed red meat cause an increase in the risk of cancer? Yes, but only if you’re consuming too much of it to begin with. If you’re having bacon with every single meal (which, honestly, doesn’t sound like a terrible idea), then yes, your risk of cancer will rise, simply due to the fact that you are placing a greater proportion of that substance in your body. The same goes for fruit. The more fruit you put into your body, the greater your odds are for developing a higher blood sugar level, simply because more fruit equals more sugar.
3. Don’t Let This Frighten You
The real enemy here, in terms of processed meats, are added nitrates. Added nitrates are what is used in processed deli meats to preserve the shelf life of said product. So in actuality, it isn’t the meat itself that is the main culprit, it’s the nitrates. What do nitrates to do the body? It’s simple. Physiologically, once nitrates enter your bloodstream, they begin to morph some of your cells into different cells, some of these cells can be morphed into cancer cells. It’s that easy and dangerous. Try a week of FREE Meal Planning on us!
So, next time you see a headline reading, “BACON TAKES 10 YEARS OFF YOUR LIFE!”, stay calm and do your research, you may find that the article you’re reading is just a bunch of click bait.
Enjoy your beef, enjoy your red meats, eat in moderation, and stay away from added nitrates!