New studies shed light on hidden dangers of meat

The World Health Organization has confirmed that processed meats such as bacon, sausages, and ham cause cancer. These foods are ranked as Group 1 carcinogens meaning that processed meats are ranked next to tobacco and asbestos.

A press release by the IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) concluded that “each 50 gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%.”

Brookfield Central science teacher Mr. Hipp offered some insight into this discovery.

“Red meat in particular contains a lot of saturated fat, which is linked to many vascular diseases and obesity in people. Meat also contains a protein called casein, which some research has shown its chilling effect on cancer cell growth and the exacerbation of metastasis within the human body.”

Although the research states that processed red meats are linked to cancer, Dr. Christopher Wild, Director of IARC, affirmed that “at the same time, red meat has nutritional value”. Therefore, these results are important in enabling governments and international regulatory agencies to conduct risk assessments, in order to balance the risks and benefits of eating red meat and processed meat and to provide the best possible dietary recommendations.”

Eating red meats will not definitively cause cancer in any given individual; however, findings have shown that risk level is correlated with the amount of processed meats consumed. Research has not yet proven a “safe level” of meat consumption.

When asked about whether this new discovery will affect her diet, Valerie Yurk (17’) said, “I don’t think that this news will cause me to change my diet. Maybe once they study more about the “safe levels” of meat consumption, I might, but as of now, no.”

The data has been collected from more than 800 studies of cancer in humans, with 700 of those studies proving cancer in red meats, and 400 of those studies proving cancer in processed meats.