Is it time to say bye-bye to bacon?

As Ari Paparo commented on Twitter, “If I have to eat my bacon 15 feet in front of the building, standing in the cold, so be it.”

It was a bad day for bacon lovers worldwide.

As Ari Paparo commented on Twitter, “If I have to eat my bacon 15 feet in front of the building, standing in the cold, so be it.”

While many of our other favourite foods like chocolate, wine and coffee have been found to have some health benefit, to date, bacon has been out of luck.

Last week, after a review of more than 800 studies, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) released a report stating that there is sufficient evidence to classify bacon, along with other processed meats, to be carcinogenic. This means it has the potential for causing cancer under some circumstances.

Although limiting intake of processed meat has been a public health message for many years, this report was unique in that it attached numbers to the risk, reporting that each 50-gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases risk of colorectal cancer by 18 per cent.

To provide some reference, 50 grams is not very much: about two slices of bacon or one hot dog wiener.

The term processed meats includes meat “transformed through salting, curing, fermentation, smoking or other processes to enhance flavour or improve preservation.”

This would include hotdogs, ham, sausages, corned beef, beef jerky or canned meat, but would not include many deli meats such as whole-roasted turkey, chicken or beef.

So what does this mean?

The research does not prove that you will get cancer if you eat processed meats.

The relative risk of occasionally enjoying some bacon or hot dogs is quite small. However, it does suggest that you should not make processed meats an everyday choice, especially if you have a family history of colorectal cancer.

The unfortunate result of this report is that while joking about eating bacon is funny, it underscores the fact that for many people, eating processed meats is a life skills or economic reality, not a personal choice.

These findings should be used to advocate for acceptable alternative protein sources for those living on a small income or with limited cooking skills.

-Serena Caner is a registered dietician who works at Shuswap Lake General Hospital.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Plan in works to keep Salmon Arm’s homeless people warm in extreme weather

Advocate aims higher, wants a 24/7 friendship centre operating in city

CSRD’s plan to create economic development society meets resistance

Electoral Area E director wants to withdraw area from the proposal

A Salmon Arm mortgage investment corporation faces BC Securities hearing

Securities commission alleges misrepresentations and false or misleading statements in documents

Salmon Arm prepares for Rogers Hometown Hockey

Businesses and residents encouraged to wear jerseys, show their hockey spirit

UBCO students raise funds for those affected by Philippine volcano eruption

All proceeds will be donated to the Philippine Red Cross

B.C.-based Coulson Aviation C-130 crashes in Australia

Three people are confirmed dead in the crash in New South Wales

B.C. RCMP spent roughly $750K on massive manhunt for Port Alberni men

Manitoba RCMP helped with 17-day search through the province’s northern terrain

Future space homes could be made of mushrooms

NASA explores use of fungi to build structures in space

Empty speedboat sinks off Kelowna shore on Okanagan Lake

This is the third report of a boat found in the lake in the past two weeks

Man killed by police in Lytton called 911, asking to be shot: RCMP

Howard Schantz, also known as Barry Schantz was killed following a standoff at his Lytton home

UPDATE: Revelstoke City Council gives themselves a raise, councillor resigns in protest

The mayor’s pay is set to go from $30,000 to $60,000 over three years

Most Read