The jury is in: Red meat causes cancer. Those were the findings of the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, better known as IARC, which recently released a study that found processed meat–like bacon, ham, sausage and hot dogs–definitely causes cancer, and red meat probably causes it, as well. When you consider all we know about processed foods and dioxin in red meat, this information seem a long time coming. What can you do?
The new findings link consumption of processed meats with a higher risk of cancer–especially colorectal cancer, which increases risk by 18% if you eat meat every day. That’s the same risk factor as smoking.
And though that’s a hard percentage to swallow, keep in mind that the American Cancer Society has recommended limiting consumption of red and processed meat specifically since 2002. Yet Americans still eat more meat per person–about 200 pounds every year–than any other country except Luxembourg.
But given the breadth of the IARC report, which assessed more than 800 epidemiological studies on cancer and meat, it could have weight–pun intended. Now that cancer is the second most common killer in the United States, after heart disease, it should.
Using this information to make a change? A few good first steps are to eat less meat and more fresh veggies. These and other easy tips are in my Healthy Eating Guide. What are your favorites? Please tell me about it, in comments below. Thanks!