“Processed meat ranks alongside smoking as major cause of cancer, World Health Organisation [WHO] says,” The Daily Telegraph reports. It has been ranked as a group one carcinogen – the same ranking as cigarettes, alcohol and asbestos.
Dramatic headlines attract publicity and increase sales but just because processed meat had been ranked as a group one carcinogen, it DOES NOT mean it is as dangerous as other substances in the group. Headlines such as the Daily Express’, “Processed meat is as bad as smoking”, are far from the truth
‘While any substance ranked as a group one carcinogen is known to cause cancer, this doesn’t meant the risk of cancer is the same for all substances. A bacon sandwich is not as dangerous as being exposed to weapons grade plutonium, and smoking a pack of 20 cigarettes a day is far deadlier than eating a ham roll.’ says NHS choices.
The link between meat, particularly processed meats that have been salted, smoked or pickled and cancer particularly bowel cancer is not new, it has been known for a long time that about 3% of all bowel cancers could be attributable to meat. Meat however is a good source of vitamins and nutrients. Smoking and obesity are far worse and have no health benefits.
It is frustrating and damaging when newspapers create ‘scare stories’ it leads to the response ‘but everything is bad for you, everything causes cancer‘ that I come across when trying to convince people to lead healthy lifestyles. Yes it is true that there is risk in a lot of things but it is there is a difference in the risk of crossing a quite road in day time and that of crossing a busy motorway in the middle of the night blindfolded!