A new report declaring that processed meat causes cancer and that red meat probably does, too has the meat industry furious and bacon lovers worried.
Here are some answers to your questions about meat and cancer:
Does this mean I have to become a vegetarian? The report doesn’t say that just one bite of meat causes cancer. Many reports over the years have shown that people who eat more red meat and more processed meat have a higher risk of several types of cancer, especially colon cancer and breast cancer.
How much meat can I safely eat?
Biology is always messy. Just because something raises the risk of cancer doesn’t mean it will always cause cancer, and of course other things that people eat and do will affect the risk, too. The IARC says a 50 gram portion of processed meat eaten every day raises the risk of colon cancer by 18 percent — that’s two to three slices of bacon.
Is meat really as bad as smoking?
The American Institute for Cancer Research answers this one:
“Although WHO now classifies both processed meat and cigarettes in the highest category of carcinogen, these classifications reflect the strength of the evidence behind them, not the level of risk,” the group, which researches links between diet and cancer, says.