By Nutritionist Blogger Jeni Tackett, RD, LD
The World Health Organization came out with recommendations this fall on limiting processed meats and red meats to reduce cancer risk. Headlines such as “Bacon causes cancer” and “Hotdogs cause cancer, WHO declares” had Americans questioning the health of their diets.
The recommendations came from a panel of 22 international experts from 10 different countries. The experts reviewed over 800 studies on cancer in humans. Increased intake of processed meats was linked to higher risk of colon, pancreatic, and prostate cancer.
What counts as red meat or processed meat? Red meat includes beef, pork, lamb, and veal.
What is processed meat? Meats that have been salted, cured, fermented, smoked, or put through other processed to preserve and enhance flavor. Examples include hot dogs, beef jerky, ham, bacon, and sausage.
What is the risk? According to the WHO:
- Eating 3 ounces of red meat daily increases your risk of colon cancer by 17%
- Eating 1.8 ounces of processed meat daily increases your risk of colon cancer by 18%
- Eat a plant based diet: WHO’s recommendations confirm what dietitians have been preaching all along. Your diet should primarily consist of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, and nuts.
- Pick lean protein sources: Pick fish, legumes, and poultry over red meats more often.
- Practice portion control with meats and processed meats: Based on the WHO recommendations, you should limit your red meat and processed meat intake. That does not mean you have to give it up, but a few slices of bacon is a better choice than a plate of bacon.
- Avoid fad diets that emphasize red meats and processed meats.
|Meet Jeni Tackett, Let’s Move Quad Cities Nutrition Blogger. Jeni is a registered and licensed dietitian for Unity Point-Trinity. Jeni counsels her clients on weight loss and nutrition. You can read Jeni’s bio and other blog posts by clicking here.|