Sausages And Grilling Can Cause Cancer Warns World Health Organisation!

Love your daily breakfast of Bacon and Eggs? You might want to rethink it!

The World Health Organisation (WHO) warns about the consequences of consuming meat in its latest report. It reveals that processed meats such as Sausages, Bacon and Ham cause cancer!

Elena Elisseeva / iStock / thinkstock (WHO)'s recent report reveals the implications of consuming processed meat. Even the consumption of 50g of processed meat per day can increase the risk of cancer by 18% - and we are talking about 2 slices of Bacon here! Even raw meat has been classified as "possibly carcinogenic". However, there is limited evidence for it. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the cancer agency of the WHO findings further emphasise that while there is a need to reduce the consumption of processed meat one doesn't have to completely give up on it.

The Risk Of Cancer And Its Consequences

"For an individual, the risk of developing colorectal cancer because of their consumption of processed meat remains small, but this risk increases with the amount of meat consumed,” says Dr. Kurt Straif, Head of the IARC Monographs Programme. WHO estimates cite that 34,000 cancer deaths per year worldwide are attributable to diets high in processed meat which is a fraction of a million cancer deaths per year that are caused due to tobacco smoking. In the United Kingdom (UK) alone six out 100 people get bowel cancer at some point in their lives. And if these people continued to consume an extra 50g of processed meat every day then the risk would increase by 18% to around seven in 100 people getting bowel cancer. "So that's one extra case of bowel cancer in all those 100-lifetime bacon-eaters," said Sir David Spiegelhalter, a risk professor from the University of Cambridge.
Gerasimo / iStock / thinkstock

So what are the reasons behind the consumption of meat that increase the risk of cancer? Cutting meat and filling in a natural casing does not make the sausage processed. Industrially manufactured sausages often replace natural casings with collagen, cellulose, or even plastic casings. Also, the chemicals involved in the industrial processing of meat besides high-temperature cooking such as grilling that can create carcinogenic chemicals that make meat consumption harmful.

Over time, processed meat has been extensively modified to extend its shelf life by adding preservatives that can be carcinogenic. These can found in sausages, canned meat, bacon, ham and readymade meat sauces.

How Bad Is It Really?

The WHO & IARC's findings have now placed processed meat in the same category as plutonium along with alcohol. This clearly does not mean that each of these substances are equally dangerous. A bacon sandwich is not as harmful as smoking a cigarette or consuming alcohol on a regular basis. Prof Tim Key, from the Cancer Research UK and the University of Oxford, told BBC: "This decision doesn't mean you need to stop eating any red and processed meat, but if you eat lots of it, you may want to think about cutting down." He further added that eating a bacon rap once in a while isn't going to do much harm. Key insists that a healthy diet is all about moderation. Dr. Teresa Norat, one of the advisors to the WHO report and from Imperial College London told BBC News website: "People should limit consumption of red meat and avoid consuming processed meat, but they should also have a diet rich in fibre, from fruit and vegetables and maintain an adequate body weight throughout life and limit the consumption of alcohol and be physically active."