Should You Stop Eating Bacon and Hot Dogs?

The World Health Organization found a link between processed red meat consumption and colorectal cancer. Eating processed meats increased the risk by 17 percent. The cancer-causing chemical in processed meat appears to be heme iron, which has been discovered in cancerous tissue. The link might also be the way bacteria in the gut reacts to the meat products. That doesn’t mean you should give up hot dogs, bologna and bacon, because the link was small. The risk of colon cancer from bacon pales in comparison with the risk of not getting a colonoscopy at age 50 to 75, or smoking. Processed meat causes about three percent of all cancer. In contrast, tobacco causes 86 percent of lung cancers. America would have 8,800 fewer cancer cases if the entire population gave up processed meats. In contrast, we would have 64,500 fewer cases of cancer if everyone gave up smoking. Cut down on hot dogs and bacon if you consume a lot of them. Otherwise, don’t worry about it. (The New York Times, November 1, 2015)

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