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Questioning a Goodbye to Bacon

Goodbye to bacon? Not so fast. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a cancer-studying subcategory of the World Health Organization, announced last week that consuming processed meat, like sausage, beef jerky, and yes, bacon, may lead to colorectal cancer. The IARC stated in its press release that eating 2 oz of processed meat daily increases the risk for colorectal cancer by 18%. While the numbers and facts seem daunting, they aren’t as threatening as they seem.

An 18% increase of risk in someone who already has a 10% risk only bumps the relative risk to about 12%.

The health organization also categorized processed meats as carcinogens, along side tobacco, smoking, and asbestos. However, the category of a harmful substance does not define its risk factor but rather the strength of the research conducted. So a slice of bacon does not have the same consequences of a cigarette. With this research in mind, it’s probably a bad idea to sign up for a hotdog eating contest every other week, but indulging in few slices of bacon every once in a while won’t hurt.


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