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  • Writer's pictureBrian Dooreck MD

Bacon, Processed Meats, and a Higher Risk of Colorectal Cancer. It's your choice.

Updated: Jul 25, 2023


Healthy foods feed the gut-brain axis, health, microbiome, gastrointestinal gi system for you and the gastroenterology doctor
Eating just one slice of bacon a day linked to higher risk of colorectal cancer, says study

I grew up in the 1970s and 1980s without meat, fish, or poultry. My parents made that decision for us.


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I started eating fish in college, and now I consume fish maybe once a week, but most of my protein is plant-based and supplemented with tofu, eggs, and tempeh.


I know this sounds extreme, especially if you are eating meat often. But maybe I can change your mind.


Why the news?


CNN and leading media outlets recently shared scientific research that concluded: "Eating even a moderate amount of red or processed meat is linked with an increased risk of colorectal (colon or bowel) cancer."


According to the study, "People who ate 76 grams of red and processed meat per day -- that's in line with current guidelines and roughly the same as a quarter-pound beef burger -- had a 20% higher chance of developing colorectal cancer compared to others, who ate about 21 grams a day, the equivalent to one slice of ham, according to the research."


"Eating even a moderate amount of red or processed meat is linked with an increased risk of colorectal (bowel) cancer."

The study also concluded that processed meats such as sausage and bacon posed a more significant risk than red meat, with the risk of colorectal cancer rising 20% with every 25 grams of processed meat (roughly equivalent to a thin slice of bacon) people ate per day, and by 19% with every 50 grams of red meat (a thick slice of roast beef or the edible bit of a lamb chop).


The research found that another factor increasing the risk of colorectal cancer is alcohol.


On the upside, fiber from bread and breakfast cereal was linked with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer.


The World Health Organization

The World Health Organization concluded in 2015 that there is enough evidence to classify processed meat as "carcinogenic [causes cancer] to humans."

The WHO has classified red meat as "probably carcinogenic [causes cancer] to humans."
Healthy foods feed the gut-brain axis, health, microbiome, gastrointestinal gi system for you and the gastroenterology doctor
Red and processed meat

Colorectal Cancer


Colorectal cancer gets its name from the parts of the body it affects—the colon (large intestine or bowel) and the rectum. Colorectal cancer is cancer that occurs in the colon and the rectum. Colon or rectal cancer is used depending on whether the cancer starts in the colon or rectum.


According to the American Cancer Society, in the United States, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer, excluding skin cancers, and around 51,020 deaths are expected to occur due to colorectal cancer in 2019.


“In the United States, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer."

This common cancer is preventable with screening (such as a colonoscopy).


“51,020 deaths are expected to occur due to colorectal cancer in 2019”

The CNN article suggested "reducing red and processed meat by trying meat-free Mondays (#meatfreemondays), or recipes that use fresh chicken and fish." Not a bad idea to start.


Personally


I eat a high-fiber, mostly plant-based 🌱 diet, no red meat, drink 4 liters of water a day, exercise, and am focused on keeping nutrition simple. I am sharing what works for me and what I routinely recommend to my patients.


"Balance. Portion control. Keep nutrition simple. Eat Smart. Eat Healthy. 🌱 🌾 🌿"

Gut Health ➕ Patient Advocacy with Navigation ➕ Life Balance


If you were looking for information about Private Healthcare Navigation and Patient Advocacy from Executive Health Navigation


Connect with Dr. Dooreck on LinkedIn, where he focuses his sharing on Health, Diet, Nutrition, Exercise, Lifestyle, and Balance.


 

gastroenterology | colonoscopy doctor | colonoscopy and gastroenterology services | gastro doctor | gi doctor | gastrointestinal diagnostic centers | public health

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