Will eating bacon for breakfast give you cancer? The recent WHO study linking red and cured meats to possible increased risk of cancer is not news. We have long known of a link. As far as significance, you be the judge.
If you live in the U.S. and eat 2 slices (or 1.8 ounces) of bacon every day for your entire life (is this likely?) your lifetime risk of getting colon cancer goes from 4.5 to 5.3 percent. In other words your cancer risk goes up less than 1 percent. The media prefers the shock value of a bigger number so they simply rework the difference between 4.5 and 5.3 to give 18%.
An estimated 34,000 cancer deaths worldwide are said to result from eating processed meat. Roughly 1.7 MILLION deaths worldwide are attributable to low vegetable and fruit intake. Why didn’t the WHO suggest having an extra large salad with your bacon burger?
A bigger risk comes from prescription drugs. An estimated 128,000 people die each year from properly prescribed drugs. Overuse and mistakes drive this number much higher.
Are you taking a statin for high cholesterol, a blood thinner? Bacon may be a healthier choice. You don’t see a lot of class action lawsuits against bacon, but you do see them for blood thinners and pain meds.
The research lumped all types of meat together. Cancer experts suspect differences in quality of meat consumed impacts cancer risk too.
Cattle in some feedlots are not only fed GMO corn and soy, they are fed municipal garbage, discarded molding pizza crusts and candy, and even worse: other cattle. They are dosed with hormones (known to cause cancer) and antibiotics.
Grass fed beef is a good source of omega 3 fats, the type that reduces cancer and heart disease risk whereas the grains and junk food fed cattle are higher in omega 6 fats, the kind that contributes to inflammation and disease. Some cancer clinics successfully treat cancer using high meats diets. When a patient’s constitution benefits from a high intake of meat, and some do (especially sympathetic dominant types), meat promotes health and prevents cancer. Meat should always grass fed and organic.
And finally, if you are worried about cancer, you should be cutting out sweets, not meat. The fuel of choice for cancer is sugar. Feeding sugar is how researchers get cancer cells to grow and divide.
The takeaway: If you eat more vegetables, cut the desserts, and take less drugs, your odds of a long healthy life are greater than if you cut out steak and bacon.