The World Health Organization has recently announced that processed meats like hot dogs, bacon, and ham can lead to cancer, and unprocessed red meats may also be carcinogenic. Researchers are still trying to figure out exactly how processed meat causes cells to become cancerous, but the main culprits seem to be certain chemicals that are found in the meat itself, as well as the way the meat is prepared.The report outlined that simply eating 50 grams of processed meat each day — the equivalent of two slices of ham — can increase the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%. Processed meat now falls under the same category of cigarettes and asbestos; however, processed meat is not considered to be equally dangerous.
Because of this recent health warning many people are rethinking whether processed meat is really worth the risk. Elizabeth Hodnett ’16 said, “I will still probably eat processed meat because it’s so hard to take processed meat out of my diet completely, but I will definitely try to limit the amount I eat now. I used to eat some form of processed meat pretty much everyday.”
Some people, on the other hand, don’t seem to be concerned at all. Mimi Garza ’16 said, “It doesn’t bother me at all. If you think about it almost everything has a cancer risk these days, so I don’t really buy into it. I’m still going to eat hot dogs when I feel like it.”
This unfortunate news doesn’t necessarily mean that eating processed meat is dangerous, but it can be dangerous to consume large amounts. Limit the amount, but it’s still OK to eat sausage or bacon in moderation from time to time.