By now you’ve almost certainly heard about the report by the World Health Organization, telling us that eating bacon, sausage and other processed meats brings a higher risk of cancer. The 22 international experts, who reviewed decades of research, also noted that eating red meat might be just as bad. Eating 3.5 ounces of red meat, they wrote, raises the risk of colorectal cancer by 17 percent, while eating just 1.8 ounces of processed meat a day raises the risk by 18%. In all, they estimated that 34,000 cancer deaths can be attributed to diets high in processed meats.
This should not have been a revelation to most Americans, since the American Cancer Society issued a very similar report in 2002, coming to essentially the same conclusion. That report suggested that diets might be responsible for one-third of all cancer deaths in the U.S.
Did Americans give up their bacon, salami and beef jerky after the 2002 report? No; in fact, market researchers have found that Americans are eating more processed meats today than they did when the Cancer Society study came out, and overall the meat-eating habits have changed very little. This will probably be the reaction to the new study; a lot of angst, very little action.
About the Author: Bob Veres has been a commentator, author and consultant in the financial services industry for more than 20 years. Over his 20-year career in the financial services world, Mr. Veres has worked as editor of Financial Planning magazine; as a contributing editor to the Journal of Financial Planning; as a columnist and editor-at-large of Dow Jones Investment Advisor magazine; and as editor of Morningstar’s advisor web site: MorningstarAdvisor.com.
Mr. Veres has been named one of the most influential people in the financial planning profession by Investment Advisor magazine and Financial Planning magazine, was granted the NAPFA Special Achievement Award by the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, and most recently the Heart of Financial Planning Distinguished Service Award from the Denver-based Financial Planning Association.
A research division of the World Health Organization announced Monday that bacon, sausage and other processed meats cause cancer and that red meat probably does, too. The report by the influential group stakes out one of the most aggressive stances against meat taken by a major health organization, and it is expected to face stiff criticism in the United States.
Last week, the World Health Organization sent the Internet into a frenzy when it declared that bacon, sausage and other processed meats Americans adore cause cancer. The announcement, which came with the added bummer that eating red meat might be just as bad, made the bold claim that the animal proteins belong in the same category as cigarettes and asbestos.