Processed meats are the new tobacco

Recent studies reveal processed meats could cause bowel cancer in humans.

27 Oct 2015

Bacon lovers the world over will not be happy to find out that their beloved favourite food item now ranks up there with smoking and drinking alcohol when it comes to carcinogens.

According to Health24, eating processed meats like hot dogs, biltong, sausages or bacon can lead to bowel cancer in humans and red meat is a likely cause of the disease, World Health Organisation (WHO) experts said.

The review by the WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), released on Monday 25 October, put processed meat in its group 1 list, which also includes tobacco and asbestos, for which there is "sufficient evidence" of cancer links.

It places red meat in group 2A, as “probably carcinogenic to humans”. Eating red meat is also linked to pancreatic and prostate cancer, the IARC says.

This announcement by the WHO goes a long way to supporting the eating of unprocessed food. This is the cornerstone of the Banting lifestyle that Tim Noakes and his followers have made famous in SA over the past 3 years. Processed food and sugar (carbohydrates) are top of the Real Meal Revolution's list of evil foods. Cured meats are on the Real Meal Revolution Green List - but many people don't understand the difference and think it's a license to eat as much bacon and sausage as they like.

If you are a bacon-lover and have no plans to give it up, we suggest you scout out only the best, hand-made bacon that you can find. Checkers, as well as a few specialist butchers stock a range of unprocessed, artisanal bacon – made using traditional methods with the resulting product being free of GDLs (glucono—lactone) and other harmful preserving agents.

Food24 recently attended the launch of #GreenMondaySA – a global movement aimed at getting people to eat plant-based food for just one day of the week. The WHO’s announcement on not just processed meat, but red meat too – may just be the impetus this movement needs to recruit active followers.

In essence they are asking people to cut down on meat for the sake of animals and the environment. And now there is also a good enough health reason to try it for at least one day a week. It is however important to try and choose organic fruit and veggies if you can – as others often carry many chemical residues from spraying etc.

Food24 has a fantastic hub full of vegetarian and vegan (plant-based) recipes. This would be a great starting point. And you can include the whole family. There is nothing boring or tasteless about eating a plant-based meal. In fact – it only fuels your creativity.  

Click here for the vegetarian recipes hub.


You might also Like

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.