Time to cut the fat from your diet — literally.
The World Health Organization's cancer agency has just revealed that processed meats are indeed cancer-causing, and can lead to colon and stomach cancer, as well as other types. This puts meat in the same category as cigarettes and asbestos.
Processed meats are classified as any meats that are "transformed" by flavoring (like smoking or curing). This includes bacon, hot dogs, sausage, beef jerky, ham, canned meat (eww), and meat-based sauces.
Researchers from WHO's International Agency for Research looked into more than 800 studies from all around the world that studied the connection between meat and cancer. Based on this research, experts now classify processed meat as "carcinogenic to humans" and red meat as "probably carcinogenic."
The researchers noted that although meat contains important nutrients, "grilling, pan-frying or other high-temperature methods of cooking red meat produce the highest amounts of chemicals suspected to cause cancer."
Of course, groups like The North American Meat Institute dispute these claims, saying, "cancer is a complex disease not caused by single foods," and emphasizing environment and lifestyle choices as other factors that cause cancer. It'd be a shame if people were to stop eating meat because of a minor thing like cancer.
But this isn't quite new information. The American Cancer Society agrees that meat should be consumed in very small quantities. And if you do eat meat, "choose lean cuts and eat smaller portions," and "Prepare meat, poultry, and fish by baking, broiling, or poaching rather than by frying or charbroiling."
Well, looks like we'll be on a vegetarian diet for now.