Now I will be the first one to go out of her way to say that many people in my group (Vegetarians and vegans) will take any bit of information they desire and twist it entirely out of proportion.
I actually wrote an article before when I was told by a vegetarian that milk and dairy causes cancer, and was just as dangerous for your health as smoking. In that article I showed where the information came from. The study listed does not in any way single out milk, or even mention dairy products. No scientific evidence shows that there is a link between dairy products, and cancer, especially not nearly as bad as cigarettes. Not to say that Milk is GOOD for you, it really isn’t.
The evidence linked by various news sources this time is a WHO report, the World Health Organization. They labeled processed red meat such as bacon as Group 1 Carcinogen, or other words, they lumped it in the same category as Cigarettes, which increases your risk of Lung Cancer by over 2500%. Processed meat only increases your risk 18%, or from 4.5% to 5.3% lifetime risk. Not even close to the dangers caused by Cigarettes.
And the WHO even AGREES with this, they mentioned in their FAQ that:
“9. Processed meat was classified as carcinogenic to humans (Group 1). Tobacco smoking and asbestos are also both classified as carcinogenic to humans (Group 1). Does it mean that consumption of processed meat is as carcinogenic as tobacco smoking and asbestos?
No, processed meat has been classified in the same category as causes of cancer such as tobacco smoking and asbestos (IARC Group 1, carcinogenic to humans), but this does NOT mean that they are all equally dangerous. The IARC classifications describe the strength of the scientific evidence about an agent being a cause of cancer, rather than assessing the level of risk.“
Now DOES red meat, and especially processed red meats increase your risk for Colorectal cancer? Yes. There is very little debate about that. But does it significantly increase your risk? Not really. Vegans are quick to mention that meat causes colon cancer, and that they are immune from it because they don’t eat red meat, but vegans with colon cancer discredit this. Not that there is much evidence that veganism is more beneficial than lacto-ovo vegetarianism when it comes to things like heart disease anyways.
For instance, not long ago, a YouTuber by the name of Furious Pete got testicular cancer, and as a result, many vegans started saying that he got cancer because he ate meat. But there is no evidence showing that red meat is associated with testicular cancer.
The WHO report was taken entirely out of context, in fact, in the FAQ they say:
“16. Should I stop eating meat?
Eating meat has known health benefits. Many national health recommendations advise people to limit intake of processed meat and red meat, which are linked to increased risks of death from heart disease, diabetes, and other illnesses.”
They do NOT recommend a complete cessation of red meat consumption, but they do say that processed meats, like “hot dogs (frankfurters), ham, sausages, corned beef, and biltong or beef jerky as well as canned meat and meat-based preparations and sauces.” They also say what many health officials have been saying to awhile, to limit the intake of red meat.
Nutrition guidelines have been telling us for decades what a Serving Size is, and that the average adult male should eat about 6 oz of food in the protein group per day, which includes beans, nuts, seeds, chicken, fish, and beef. That is about 3 tacos, or one and a half whoppers. and that’s it. Per day. Of all food in the protein group. A typical steak should not be larger than the average deck of cards.
The Average American eats MUCH more than this, and that is simply in beef alone (where the average american consumes 5.5 oz of meat per capita), this does not include chicken, nuts, seeds, eggs, or fish. The average American diet and their overt portion sizes are connected to the rising obesity crisis going on, so it is important to moderate your portions.
The overconsumption of red and processed meats are bad for you, and you probably SHOULD decrease your intake. But the reduction in risk really isn’t that significant, and no, it is not as harmful as cigarettes or formaldehyde. Listen to the facts, not the hype.