Report serves up more cancer risks to chew on

A major report released last week concluded that, when it comes to cancer, no amount of processed meat is considered completely safe.

The American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund also says that there is more evidence than ever that a person who weighs too much is more likely to develop cancer. Excess body fat increases the risk of cancer of the colon, kidney, pancreas, esophagus and uterus, as well as postmenopausal breast cancer, according to the report.

Every 1.7 ounces of processed meat consumed a day increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 21 percent, the report found.

This is unsurprising, yet depressing, news. Especially if you like bacon.

We know we’re an obese nation, but no amount of processed meat is safe? Eating sausage makes you a risk taker?

The whole issue is exceptionally illustrated by a couple of beloved Americans. OK, so they are animated TV characters. Homer Simpson represents the problem. Lisa Simpson, noted vegetarian, represents a healthy alternative.

This exchange from an episode could be used in a public service announcement:

Homer: “Are you saying you’re never going to eat any animal again? What about bacon?”

Lisa: “No.”

Homer: “Ham?”

Lisa: “No.”

Homer: “Pork chops?”

Lisa: “Dad, those all come from the same animal.”

Homer: “Heh heh heh. Ooh, yeah, right, Lisa. A wonderful, magical animal.”

Now back to your regularly scheduled editorial.

Evidence linking red meat intake (beef, pork and lamb) to colorectal cancer is more convincing than it was a decade ago, the report states.

According to USA Today, the food industry fired back with this scathing indictment: “The U.S. Dietary Guidelines include meat and processed meat, and those guidelines are based on a review of the scientific evidence,” said Ceci Snyder, a registered dietitian with the National Pork Board.

Of course those guidelines aren’t based on the latest scientific evidence. Similarly, scientists hired by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association found there is no evidence that red meat causes cancer.

While the nutritional evidence piles up, fast food chains keep dreaming up Homer-type offerings. These items are a double whammy, so to speak, because they include red meat and processed meats. Such as Hardees new Monster Thickburger, which has two 1/3-pound slabs of Angus beef, four strips of bacon and three slices of American cheese.

A separate survey showed that of 1,022 adults, 39 percent say their top health concern is cancer and 49 percent say it’s highly unlikely they can do anything to prevent cancer.

Wrong.

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