“Unfit for Human Consumption”: Processed Meat Science vs. Spin

meat delicaciesWell, it sure got people’s attention, we’ll say that for sure. But is it accurate?

Last week a blog post from an organization called the Institute for Natural Healing picked up on one of the 10 AICR/WCRF Recommendations for the Prevention of Cancer first published back in 2007. That blog post has since gone viral (it’s been shared tens of thousands of times across many different social media platforms), and has attracted the attention of the news media, who have now approached us for comment.

Neither AICR nor our international partners, the World Cancer Research Fund, have any connection to the Institute for Natural Healing, whose website sells “natural” dietary supplements to treat conditions ranging from cancer to heart disease to male potency. (AICR/WCRF’s report and continuous updates have found that when it comes to cancer, it’s better to rely on whole diets, not dietary supplements, to reduce your risk.)

Last week’s INH blog post specifically spotlighted the AICR/WCRF recommendation to avoid processed meat (a category which includes hot dogs, sausage, bacon and cold cuts — for more information, see the AICR Blog post “What is Processed Meat, Anyway?”). That recommendation, at least, is real. It is the conclusion of an independent panel of leading scientists convened by AICR/WCRF who, following the largest, most comprehensive review of international research ever undertaken, judged the evidence that processed meat increases the risk of colorectal cancer to be convincing. This review was published in 2007 and was subsequently confirmed in 2011. Continue reading


Study: Eating Less Bacon May Lead to Longer Life

Cutting down on hot dogs, sausages and bacon may help you avoid a premature death from cancer, along with heart disease and other causes, suggests a new study of almost half a million Europeans.meat delicacies

The study, published online in BMC Medicine, calculated that 3.3 percent of the deaths in the study could have been prevented if participants ate less than 20 grams of processed meat – about equal to a piece of bacon – every day.

AICR’s expert report and its continuous updates show that both processed meat and high amounts of red meat increase the risk of colorectal cancer.

The BMC Medicine study investigated the links between red meat, processed meat and mortality. They used data from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study, including approximately 450,000 participants from ten European countries. When the men and women entered the study, between the ages of 35 and 69, they were free of cancer and and heart disease. Continue reading


Hot Dogs and Burgers May Increase Early Colorectal Cancer Development

When you get a colonoscopy, one thing the test looks for is adenomas, a type of polyp that is a benign growth. Not everyone who has adenomas develops cancer but in some cases, adenomas can become cancerous.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAResearch already shows that eating lots of red and processed meats increases the risk for colon cancer, now a review of the research suggests that they may also increase the risk of adenomas.The study was published this week in Cancer Causes Control. It was funded by the World Cancer Research Fund as part of AICR/WCRF’s Continuous Update Project (CUP), an ongoing review of cancer prevention research.

For the analysis, the authors looked at 26 population studies. Nineteen of the studies were case-control, where participants with and without colorectal adenomas recalled their past diet; the rest of the studies were prospective, where researchers first asked about the participants’ diet then the people were followed over time to see who developed colorectal adenomas. Continue reading