Before you dismiss the question with an eye roll and “pfft! That’s ridiculous” reaction, let me tell you that according to the World Health Organization, bacon and other red and processed meats are carcinogenic – cancer causing – to humans because of the ways it’s made.
This means that if you’re a non-smoker but take your bacon seriously, you and a smoker have an equal chance of getting cancer.
The Daily Mail reports that WHO enlisted processed meat as a highly carcinogenic element along with arsenic and asbestos. This decision was backed by the findings by a group of 22 scientists from 10 countries. They unearthed that the consumption of processed or red meat increases the chances of getting bowel cancer.
In a Q & A released by the IARC, the agency says that “eating meat has known health benefits,” but it also points out that the cancer risk increases with the amount of meat consumed.
Why Oh Why?!
They reasoned that the carcinogenic properties of the meats stem from the way that they are processed and because of its high fat concentration which is harmful for the stomach lining.
The IARC also points out that high-temperature cooking methods (such as cooking meat in direct contact with a flame) produce more carcinogenic compounds. However, the group says there were not enough data “to reach a conclusion about whether the way meat is cooked affects the risk of cancer.”
Others in the Category
Other forms of processed meat that made it to the carcinogenic category include ham, hot dogs, sausages, pastrami, salami and burger patties.
Although the risk is as high as smoking and asbestos but NPR quotes that “this does not mean that they are equally dangerous, says the International Agency for Research on Cancer — the agency within the WHO that sets the classifications. And it’s important to note that even things such as aloe vera are on the list of possible carcinogens.”