To eat or not to eat red, processed meats

Wed, Oct 28, 2015

By now, most people know of the World Health Organization’s recent announcement that processed meats like hot dogs, bacon, ham, beef jerky and others, can cause cancer. 


But given the seemingly endless stream of warnings about things that can cause cancer, what does this latest announcement mean for the average individual? 


According to Dr. Lynn Wagner, an integrative lifestyle medicine physician with BayCare Clinic, it means a concerted focus on moderation. 


“The World Health Organization says people who consume the highest levels of processed meats, such as bacon, hot dogs, and sausages, have an increased risk of developing cancer,” Wagner said. “In light of that warning and others like it, my advice is to consume these products in moderation. It’s always a good idea to be smart about what we eat, what we put into our bodies.” 


The World Health Organization says 50 grams of processed meat per day – about one regular-sized hot dog link – could increase the risk of some cancers by almost 20 percent. The most prominent cancer was colorectal cancer, but the risk of pancreatic and prostate cancers went up, too. 


The meat industry does not agree with the World Health Organization’s findings and its recommendations to eat less processed meat. 


“We just need to be generally more aware of what we are eating,” Wagner said. “It’s a challenge for many people to completely abstain from these foods, but we can instead enjoy them in smaller amounts and with considerably less frequency. Moderation is the key.” 


Click here for more from the World Health Organization.

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BayCare Clinic,, is the largest physician-owned specialty-care clinic in northeastern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It is based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. BayCare Clinic offers expertise in more than 20 specialties, with more than 100 physicians serving in 16 area communities. BayCare Clinic is a joint partner in Aurora BayCare Medical Center, a 167-bed, full-service hospital. Follow BayCare Clinic on Facebook and Twitter.