How is bacon taking our lives away?

The World Health Organization warns that bacon is now classified as a group 1 carcinogen. They have scientific evidence that they cause cancer, particularly colon cancer.

This warning is not just for British bacon but also for Italian salami, Spanish chorizo, German bratwurst and a myriad of other foods.

The World Health Organization's recommendations are based on the advice of 22 cancer experts from 10 countries. These experts examined more than 400 studies of meat processing from the epidemiological data of hundreds of thousands of people. As news report highlights, processed meat is now in a group of 120 proven carcinogens, belonging to the same carcinogen group with alcohol, asbestos and tobacco.


According to the WHO, consuming 50g of processed meat per day, equivalent to just a few bacon or sausage, can increase the risk of colon cancer by 18% in the course of a lifetime. Eating larger amounts will increase the risk. If knowing your cancer risk will be increased by 18% can not prevent you from eating bacon, the fact that consuming processed meat causes an additional 34,000 cancer deaths worldwide over a year can change your mind.

According to Cancer Research UK, eliminating processed and red meat in the UK will reduce about 8,800 cancer cases per year. That is four times the annual deaths from traffic accidents in the UK.

The news is even more shocking as both ham and bacon are British foods. According to the information in 2012 from the research of Luke Yates and Alan Warde, nearly a quarter of adults in England eat sandwiches at least once a day. To many British consumers, bacon is not just a food, it is also a part of tradition. Surveys show that the smell of bacon is one of their favorite flavors in the UK, alongside cutting grass and fresh bread.


Recently, there is growing evidence that bacon can cause cancer. Early this year, a large-scale study using data from 262,195 UK women reported that consuming only about 9 grams of bacon a day could significantly increase the risk of developing breast cancer.

The health risks of bacon are mainly due to two food additives: potassium nitrate (also known as saltpetre) and sodium nitrite, which has the effect of maintaining bacon’s alluring pink color. Nitrate chemicals are not carcinogenic. In nature, nitrate is found in many green vegetables, including celery and spinach. But something different happens when nitrates are used in meat processing. Nitrates interact with certain constituents in red meat (irons, amines and amides), forming the N-nitroso compound, which causes cancer. In the N-nitroso compounds, nitrosamine is best known. Nitrosamines can cause cancer, even at very low doses. Whenever someone eats bacon, ham or other processed meat, their intestines will receive a dose of nitrosamines, which damage the intestinal tract, and can lead to cancer

By: Archie Henderson

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