Red Meat, Bacon, Processed Meats and Cancer: Back in the News

On Monday the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) will release their evaluation of the cancer risk associated with red and processed meat. The findings, leaked to the press, will reportedly support AICR’s analysis of the research on this issue and our recommendation to limit red med meat and avoid processed meat.

updated statement: Diet–Cancer Experts Welcome WHO Report on Meat and Cancer

Here at AICR we haven’t had a chance to read the full IARC report yet. When we do, we’ll update this blog post with our reaction.43846009_s

In the meantime, here is what we know for certain:

  1. Research shows a clear and convincing link between diets high in red meat and risk for colorectal cancer.
  2. Research shows a clear and convincing link between even small amounts of hot dogs, bacon and other processed meats to colorectal cancer.

The IARC report may be new, but the evidence showing a link between red meats and colorectal cancer is not news. For years we have been recommending that Americans reduce the amount of red meat (beef, pork, lamb) in their diets and avoid processed meats like bacon, sausage, hot dogs and cold cuts. This advice grows out of our report, Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective and our recent report on colorectal cancer, This report, part of the Continuous Update Project, analyzed the global scientific research into the link between diet, physical activity, weight and cancer.

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Review: Are Pictures of Food Making Us Eat More?

If you went to your favorite social media site, how many pictures of food would you see? Maybe you have even taken some of these pictures yourself! Add this to the countless cooking shows, cookbooks, and recipe blogs, and you probably see a lot of food images throughout the day.

If you’re scrolling through at a lot of fat and calorie-rich food images that look delicious – coined food porn – that might be making you eat more, especially if you are already hungry, points out a new review on the topic. Published in Brain and Cognition, the review article looks at how the many food images we see everyday may be playing a role in the current obesity epidemic.22302352_s

Obesity is linked to increased risk of ten cancers, including colorectal and liver.

While we usually think about the sense of taste when it comes to food, sight is integral to nutrition and survival. If you think back to a time when we were hunting and gathering, sight is how we foraged for food. Visual cues allowed our early ancestors to predict how safe and nutritious the food, argues the paper’s authors. Continue reading

Berlin Fast Food Reconstructed, Cancer-Protective (and Vegetarian) Style

I love to travel and gather food inspiration from trying new cuisines – that Smørrebrød from Denmark was my addition to the article Cancer Fighting Foods from Around the World.

While there are several ways to make better choices when traveling that I wrote about here, I also enjoy trying dishes as they are and later adapting them to a healthier version at home. During that same Smørrebrød-filled trip through Northern Europe, I tried several exotic foods, but one of the absolute best things I ate was actually fairly simple: a roasted vegetable döner kebab in Berlin.

Kebob2Döner kebab (originally Turkish) is a very popular fast food item in Berlin. It’s traditionally made with shaved lamb, beef or chicken in a thick white flatbread or wrap, topped with cabbage, lettuce, tomato, cucumber and usually a yogurt sauce. The dish is generally far from healthy due to the high-fat meat, thick white bread/pita and creamy sauce.

The one I had was a bit healthier than a standard döner kebab since it was made with roasted vegetables instead of meat, and the combination of flavors and textures was incredible. Continue reading