It's also the conclusion reached by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) after reviewing more than 7,000 clinical studies examining the connection between diet and cancer.
Processed meats are those preserved by smoking, curing or salting, or the addition of chemical preservatives. This includes bacon, ham, pastrami, salami, pepperoni, hot dogs, some sausages and hamburgers (if they have been preserved with salt or chemical additives) and more.
Particularly problematic are the nitrates that are added to these meats as a preservative, coloring and flavoring. The nitrates found in processed meats are frequently converted into nitrosamines, which are clearly associated with an increased risk of certain cancers.
The latest research from WCRF is only the most recent of a slew of evidence linking processed meats to cancer.
A 2007 analysis by WCRF found that eating just one sausage a day can significantly raise your risk of bowel cancer. Specifically, 1.8 ounces of processed meat daily -- about one sausage or three pieces of bacon -- raises the likelihood of the cancer by 20 percent.
Other studies have also found that processed meats increase your risk of:
- Colon cancer by 50 percent
- Bladder cancer by 59 percent
- Stomach cancer by 38 percent
- Pancreatic cancer by 67 percent
And that's not all. Hot dogs, bacon, salami and other processed meats may also increase your risk of diabetes by 50 percent, and lower your lung function and increase your risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
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