Meat lovers beware. Your favourite food might be giving you cancer, with the World Health Organisation ranking processed meats in the same category as asbestos and tobacco.
According to the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) panel, there is enough evidence to classify processed meats (like bacon, prosciutto and sausages) as group 1 human carcinogens. That means that, like asbestos, tobacco and UV radiation, they are directly linked to causing cancer.
Experts even warn that each 50 gram portion of processed or cured meat a day increases your risk of some types of cancer by 18%. Yikes!
Meanwhile, red meats (like beef, pork, veal and lamb) were classified as group 2A carcinogens, meaning they’re foods that “probably” cause cancer.
Adding fuel to the fire, the Daily Mail reported that researchers at Oxford University warned that just two portions of red meat a week increases the risk of bowel cancer by a fifth.
But don’t panic. This doesn’t mean you have to ditch red meat completely. Many health experts advise that red meat can still bring a wealth of health advantages to a balanced diet as it is an excellent source of protein, iron and vitamin B. Instead, we should enjoy processed and red meat in moderation as well as look for organic grass-fed, free range varieties.