Can I Eat Bacon and Red Meat

By Rebecca Carden — November 02, 2015

You Bacon Me Crazy

Can I Eat Bacon and Red Meat still. That’s what you are all wondering at the moment.

There was no missing it last week was there. Every newspaper, blog and A Current Affairs show was riddled with reports about processed meats like Bacon being severely carcinogenic and one of the worst foods man kind can eat…….it’s up there with nuclear bomb radiation exposure apparently!

Let’s break this down shall we because there are a whole lot of worried people out there now fearing for their possibly short lived lives.

Here’s the very brief overview for you- “Citing a short summary paper of a much larger study, earlier this week the World Health Organization (WHO) named processed meat a definite human carcinogen and red meat a probable human carcinogen. That’s frightening at first glance. I mean, the WHO? They’ve always delivered quality health information. When they issue a report about dietary carcinogens, we listen up.

Let’s look at what the WHO actually meant. When they analyze a substance’s cancer-causing potential, the WHO places it into one of three categories:

  • Group 1, for “established carcinogens”—things like smoking, asbestos, nuclear bomb blasts, and, now, processed meat.
  • Group 2A, for “probable carcinogens”—your glyphosates, your UV radiation, your grass-fed lamb leg.
  • Group 2B, for “possible carcinogens”—judging from the list, almost everything qualifies here”.

Now, the proposed increase in risk for collorectal cancer as a result of red meat consumption has been set at 17% BUT, bare in mind that majority of the people surveyed as part of the study were your standard american diet ‘burgers from McD’s and no exercise’ individuals. They were not your health conscious neighbours who steer clear of the take away and drink green smoothies. There is a BIG difference here and the risk factor will vary immensely depending on the overall lifestyle a person leads.

Most of the risk associated with processed meat consumption comes from the Nitrates that are added to the meat as a preservative as well as the actual processing method itself. Smoking and curing meat upped the risk significantly.

These are mostly the reasons why we don’t offer processed meats such as bacon, salami etc. We just don’t see them as offering much in the way of nutritional benefit……although they do taste pretty mmmmmm……. Finding organic, nitrate, sugar and gluten free versions of the above is bloody difficult!

For red meat, the risks are greatly enhanced by the cooking methods adopted for said meat. Cooking over an open flame, BBQ or really high heat increased the carcinogenic properties of the meat.

Get this though, to reduce and even eliminate most of the risk associated with red meat consumption, just change the way you cook it!

The slower and more gentle the method the better.

Slow cooked meats, braised, stews… you get the idea, these methods cut the risk to of carcinogens forming. Marinating your meats before cooking cuts the risk dramatically as well.

Choosing organic, grass fed meat is also quite possibly going to offer some protective qualities due to the higher levels of CLA which is a healthy saturated fat with anti cancer properties and antioxidants such as lutein which aren’t present in grain fed meat.

Making sure you serve your meat with plenty of green veggies, antioxidant rich spices and foods rich in prebiotics such as garlic, onion, cabbage, asparagus and beetroot is…. you guessed it, also going to dramatically cut the risk of carcinogens.

Whether or not you have noticed- this is exactly how we serve the meat in our meals.

The long and the short of it is this-

DO still eat and enjoy your red meat as long as you cook it correctly and eat it accompanied by the right foods. Do still eat your bacon but you’re best to source nitrate free bacon if you can and keep it as a weekend food only.

DON”T eat burgers, pizza with salami, SPAM or sandwiches with Strasburg with complete abandon and not a care in the world like you did in your youth.

We’re pretty sure you don’t eat those things because you found us!

Read more about the WHO report here in this great article by Marks Daily Apple and learn about Nitrates over here at Authority Nutrition.

Eat. Enjoy. Feel Better. Look Better. Live Longer.

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