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whatleydude from London, United Kingdom  –  Wikipedia.org

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A disgraceful scare story – so don’t bin your bacon sarnies: One nutritionist questions the claims made by the World Health Organisation after it declared war on red and processed meat

  • The World Health Organisation said some meats could be carcinogenic
  • One nutritionist questioned claims as no controlled trials have been done
  • Meat actually provides essential nutrients and there is only a tiny risk 

Burger fans beware – and if you’re about to tuck into a bacon sarnie, put it down now. And don’t even think about a ham roll for lunch.

Last week the World Health Organisation declared war on red and processed meat. It said that beef, lamb and pork were ‘probably carcinogenic to humans’ and ‘each 50 gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18 per cent’.

The proclamation caused quite a stir. But, before we rush to bin those sausages, perhaps we should take time to dissect the WHO claims more accurately.

I was confused because the claims were made despite no controlled trials ever having been done to look at what actually happens to people if they’re given 50 grams of processed meat – that’s two slices of bacon, five slices of salami, half a hot-dog, or 1.7 meatballs – per day.

Without such a controlled scientific trial, you cannot conclusively say A causes B.

So how did the WHO come to this shocking conclusion about bacon?

Well, it looked at observational studies. This is where a large group of people are asked loads of questions and given health tests (for example blood pressure, weight, height and cholesterol) at the start of the study. This is called the baseline.

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