Wake up and Smell the Bacon: The Perils of Processed Meats

Cancer rates on rise as bacon included in fad diets. Read to cut your risk.

Jay Cardiello - Wake Up and Smell the Bacon - The Perils of Processed Meats
When Pigs Fly - Cancer Rates are on the Rise as Bacon Creeps into Fad Diets. Jay Cardiello

Did pigs learn to fly and land on our plates?  Bacon is a staple in millions and millions of American’s diets with the average American eating over 18 pounds of bacon each year.  A recent press release from the World Health Organization exposes the imminent threat posed by bacon and all processed meats.  Bacon is harmful to your heath and greatly increases your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and various types of cancer.


Processed meats have been found to cause cancer.  Just 1.7 ounces of processed meats eaten on a daily basis can increase your risk of colorectal cancer by 21%.  That’s less than 2 strips of bacon a day.    Your typical bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich has more bacon than that. 

Processed meats are meats which have been altered to extend their expiration date or to change their taste.  Some popular examples are hot dogs, sausages, salami, lunch meats, jerky, ham, corned beef, canned meat, meat-based sauces, and all types of bacon.  The most common ways of processing are smoking, curing, barbecuing, fermenting, or adding salt or preservatives.  Chemicals and high temperatures used in these processing methods are believed to be the culprit of increased cancer rates.

Bacon hurts the body in many ways.  It makes you 44% more likely to die early, lowers sperm count and sperm quality, leads to weight gain and increases your risk of death from heart failure by 200%.

  Processed meats also weaken your body making it more susceptible to different forms of cancer and disease.  Eating less than 2 strips of bacon a day is enough to raise your risk of diabetes by 41%, increase the risk of stroke by 13%, increase the risk of bladder cancer by 33% and double your chances of getting lung disease.

  Your risks also increase the amount of meat that you eat.  Your risk of prostate cancer increases by 10% with every additional 10 grams processed meat eaten on a regular basis.  Regardless of someone’s age, processed meat is dangerous for everyone.  Studies show that eating cured and smoked meats put kids at a higher risk for leukemia.   

Red meat is not as dangerous as processed meat, but it can still put your health in jeopardy.  Just 3.4 ounces of red meat eaten on a daily basis can increase your risk of colorectal cancer by 21%.  That’s the equivalent of a quarter pound of red meat or approximately 2 McDonald’s hamburgers. 

Each year, studies show that 143,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer and 53,000 dies from it.  You can easily cut your risk by eating a well-balanced diet with minimal to no red meat, no processed meats, and no nitrates.  Healthy alternatives to eating red meats include eating lean chicken and fish.  Lifestyle changes are crucial and easy ways to lower your risk.  Some lifestyle examples include exercising regularly, staying physically active, keeping a healthy weight and most importantly, getting screened for colorectal cancer.  You can get rid of the colon and rectal cancers if they’re found early.

  Normal, benign polyps seen in routine colorectal cancer screenings can be removed before developing into something cancerous.  It’s a good idea to start routine colorectal cancer screenings at age 50 unless your doctor says that you’re at a higher risk, at which point you should begin them earlier.

The World Health Organization classified various red and processed meats into categories according to their carcinogenic potentials to humans.   Bacon and all processed meats are in the “Carcinogenic to Humans” category along with plutonium, alcohol, tobacco, and asbestos.  Red meats like pork, beef, lamb, and veal are in the next category along with other “Probably Carcinogenic” products.

  Tobacco is a much more harmful carcinogen than processed meat although they are both classified in the same risk category.

Balance is essential when it comes to your health.  Thousands of research studies show that eating a diet high in fresh plant-based foods and whole grains, low in fat, no added sugars or processed foods, no processed meat, and high in fiber is a healthy and effective way to preserve your health.  In this day and age, it’s difficult not to succumb to the Song of the Sirens emanating from tempting golden arches and sizzling deep fryers.  With fast food mogul chains boasting hamburgers fit for a king, it becomes increasingly difficult to make healthy, affordable and efficient food choices every day for you and your loved ones. If you’re craving a burger, it’s ok to splurge on occasion as long as it doesn’t become a habit.  Your future is in your hands.  It’s vital to understand how the decisions you make today can drastically affect the decisions you’ll be able to make tomorrow.  It’s time to wake up and smell the bacon!   

About the Author - Jay Cardiello is a Health Strategist, Celebrity Trainer and author of the No Diet Plan.  For fit tips, news and recipes, check out Jay's website at Jcardio.com.


Anatomy of Bacon.  Physician’s Committee. Web.  16 Jan 2016. 

Bad Day for Bacon: Processed Meats Cause Cancer, WHO Says.  Aubrey  A.  NPR, 19 Oct 2016.  Web.  16 Jan 2016. 

Processed Meats Do Cause Cancer – WHO. Gallagher J.  BBC, 29 Oct 2015.  Web.   16 Jan  2016.  

Will Bacon Give You Colorectal Cancer?  Fight ColoRectal Cancer, 29 Sep 2015. Web.  16 Jan 2016.   

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