WHO: Diets High In Processed Meats ‘May Cause 34,000 Deaths Annually’

By  //  November 15, 2015



EDITOR’S NOTE: The medical community has long suspected a link between red or processed meat and colorectal cancer, and the results of this most recent report by the World Health Organization (WHO) and featured in Medical News Today lends credence to the likelihood of that link.

According to estimates cited by the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), 34,000 cancer deaths per year worldwide are attributable to diets high in processed meat.  In comparison, about 1 million cancer deaths per year are due to tobacco smoking. 

iarc-logo“For an individual, the risk of developing colorectal (bowel) cancer because of their consumption of processed meat remains small, but this risk increases with the amount of meat consumed,” Dr Kurt Straif of the IARC said in a statement.  “In view of the large number of people who consume processed meat, the global impact on cancer incidence is of public health importance.”

The take-away from this research is that eating a BLT on occasion or a brautworst at the next tail-gate isn’t going to do much harm, as long as you have an awareness of the risk and have incorporated moderation of these risk related eating habits into your healthy diet.

–Dr. Jim Palermo, Editor-in-Chief

WHO: Eating Processed Meats Can Cause Colorectal Cancer

WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer reports that every 50 g of processed meats consumed daily may raise the risk for colorectal cancer by 18 percent.

MEDICAL NEWS TODAY — Eating processed meats can cause colorectal cancer, concludes a new report from the World Health Organization (WHO) while eating red meats may also raise risk for the disease.

The report, compiled by a Working Group of 22 experts across 10 countries on behalf of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), is published today in The Lancet Oncology.

Numerous studies have linked high consumption of red and processed meats with greater risk for colorectal cancer, or bowel cancer, with associations being so strong that they have influenced public health recommendations.

In 2011, for example, Medical News Today reported on a recommendation from the UK’s Department of Health to reduce intake of red and processed meats from 90 g daily to 70 g daily to lower cancer risk.

This latest report supports recommendations to reduce intake of such foods, after finding that every 50 g of processed meats consumed daily – the equivalent to two slices of bacon – may raise the risk for colorectal cancer by 18 percent.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the WHO’s findings related to the link between specific types of meats and cancer, and the rationale for limiting processed and red meat consumption on MedicalNewsToday.