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Processed Meat and Cancer

Processed Meat and Cancer

Nutrition Facts with Dr. GregerGo to Podcast Page

Michael Greger, M.D.
6 Clips
Jun 2, 2022
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Let's say you really need to find Reliable information about the best diet for high blood pressure or heart disease or diabetes. Where do you go? You go to a website sponsored by big Pharma that wants to sell you pills to fix your problem, or do you want to treat the cause welcome to the nutrition facts podcast with the latest peer-reviewed research on the best ways to eat healthy and
Live longer today, we bring you some important research on processed meat which has been classified as a group 1 carcinogen. How did the meat industry government and cancer organizations respond to that news? Here's our first story. It is perhaps rare and the history of Nations. That one finds good reasons to render, homage to the generosity, and
altruism of governments, and those in power. But the birth of the international Agency for research,
Sean cancer presents one of those rare occasions. It all started with a single letter from a bereaved husband relating. The suffering of his wife after a cancer diagnosis, calling for governments to devote half of 1% of their military budgets to fight for Life by attacking one of the greatest plagues that way on humanity and 18 months later. The iarc was born in the World Health Organization with
Our overarching motive, cancer prevention. The iarc is best known for its monographs book size reports evaluating whether or not some suspected carcinogen does in fact cause cancer. They're generally accepted as close to a final word as there is on whether or not something is carcinogenic and their 114th monograph. Published in 2018 was on meat. After thoroughly reviewing the accumulated, scientific literature of the working group of 22 experts.
Ten countries after considering more than 800 different studies concluded, their 500-page report by establishing that something like a burger or pork chop is probably carcinogenic. Probably causes cancer, but processed meat was placed as a group 1 carcinogen which is the highest level of certainty, meaning that according to the best available evidence that consumption of processed meat causes cancer. So that means foods, like bacon cause cancer ham hot dogs, breakfast links lunch meat,
Cause cancer but their definition also includes for example, Turkey Deli slices specifically eating processed meat causes colorectal cancer, cancers of the colon or rectum the second most deadly cancer worldwide. After lung cancer, which is caused largely from smoking colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death here in the United States as well. And it doesn't just strike older people. It's also leading cause of cancer and death from cancer earlier in life as well.
The meat industry wasn't happy calling it, a dramatic and alarmist. Overreach. Speaking of dramatic and alarmist over each one, a group in Italy sent out a press release. Just say no to terrorism on Meet the gloves were off. The meat industry in Canada, tried to pressure, the government to cut off funds to the iarc asking the health minister to pull all funding from the agency after they dared to question meat and the u.s. Meat.
Did the same thing. It's no surprise. The iarc is under siege by corporate interests, trying to challenge their cancer, evaluations on monsanto's, Roundup pesticide and meet trying to discredit the agency and undermined financial support. Internal documents have revealed Monsanto scientists. For example, casually discussed, ghostwriting scientific articles and suppressing any science that conflicts with a company's assertions of safety.
The chemical industry has joined the corporate cacophony. Kong the iarc monographs dubious and misleading. These are classic strategy. Straight out of the tobacco industry Playbook, but there's little to suggest that as a corporate actor. Big tobacco, differs fundamentally from Big booze or big food. For example, one recurring, corporate talking point is that basically, the iarc never met a carcinogen and didn't like, but the vast majority end up being characterized as just possibly carcinogenic or
really aren't sufficient data to make a determination either way. And look, they only spend time looking as substances for which there is already an existing body of scientific literature, indicating a degree of carcinogenic Hazard to humans. So I mean, no wonder many of them end up indeed carcinogenic. How did the iarc respond? All the criticism, the World Health Organization, received a number of queries expressions of concern and request for clarification. Following the publication of their meat and
Cancer report they replied. Hey, we never told anyone to stop eating, processed meat. Look, your body, your choice. They just indicated that reducing consumption of these products can reduce the risk of a leading cancer killer. So you like cancer per view, do you? The IRC is just a research organization that evaluates the evidence on the causes of cancer after that. What you do with that information is up to you. The American Cancer Society was nice and clear when it came to alcohol.
Comes to cancer. It's best not to drink, but they got a little more wishy-washy with process. Me suggesting people can get away with just limiting their intake. The European commission was a little clearer to reduce our risk of cancer. We should eat plenty of whole grains pulses, which are being split peas, chickpeas, lentils, vegetables, and fruits limit, sugary fatty, salty, foods, and straight-up avoid soda, sausage and other processed Meats. After all in answering the question, how much meat is safe to eat the iarc replied that we don't yet know?
Know, whether a safe level exists period in this next story. I
quantify the risks of colon and rectal cancers. From eating foods, like bacon ham, hot dogs sausage in lunch,
meat in 2018. Arguably the most prestigious cancer research institution in the world, the international Agency for research on cancer of the World Health Organization published a report on processed meat concluding that foods like bacon, ham, hot dogs, lunch, meat and sausages are
Sir, causing classifying process meet as a group 1 carcinogen these findings, conclude the director of the agency further support, Current public health recommendations to limit the intake of meat critics question putting process meet in the same carcinogenic classification is asbestos or tobacco or as a pesticide company roughly put it, how can eating processed meat fall into the same category as mustard gas.
The classification only relate to the strength of evidence that the agent causes cancer or not. Not how much cancer this is not mean, they're all equally dangerous and safer to eat a sandwich filled with pastrami then plutonium, even though they're both group one carcinogens both substances known to cause cancer in people. Okay, so just how dangerous is meat.
The relative risk of colorectal cancer was 18% for every 50 grams a day. Okay. So what exactly does that mean? Well, the 50 grams is about one hot dog or to breakfast links or two slices of Canadian bacon or ham. So it daily sandwich was 12. Slices of bologna would increase your colorectal cancer risk by 18 percent, but a half pound pastrami on rye would bump it up more like 80%, Okay, but what does the 18 percent increased risk, really?
Mean, one way to look at it is absolute risk. Versus relative risk, assuming that the lifetime risk of colorectal cancer is about 5%, I 1 in 20 increasing risk, about 20% would only bump up your absolute risk of getting colorectal cancer from 5% to 6%. Now, on a population scale on each in percent, drop in Risk, could mean about 25,000 fewer cases of colorectal cancer every year in the United States. Twenty-five thousand fewer families a year dealing with that diagnosis. If we
Swapped out the daily bologna sandwich for hummus or twos veggie dogs instead. So all depends how you look at it. Colorectal cancer is our second leading cause of cancer death for men and women combined after lung cancer. So if you don't smoke colon and rectal cancer, may be your greatest cancer Nemesis, but we can drop the risk of getting it by about a fifth, with a single dietary tweak cutting, a serving of processed meat out of our daily diet. How does
As 18%, increase cancer risk compared to other risky, behavior, and my testimony before, the dietary guidelines scientific committee. I made what may sound like a hyperbolic metaphor. When we
try not to smoke around our kids. Why would we send them to school with a bologna
sandwich? But that's not hyperbole, according to the Surgeon General living with a smoker increases your risk of lung cancer by 15%. So, breathing secondhand smoke day in, and day out.
Risk of lung cancer. Almost as much as eating a serving of processed meat day in and day out, increases your risk of colorectal cancer. The meat industry responded by saying that the risks and benefits must be considered together before telling people what to eat, or breathe and think about all the bologna benefits. Lunch meat isn't just about cancer. But convenience, indeed, process meat isn't just about cancer, an article railing Against the World Health organization's. Meet terrorism.
Cited. The global burden of disease, studies comparing how many cancer deaths are caused by processed meat consumption compared to Tobacco or alcohol use, but if you look at the study the referencing the 30-something thousand deaths attributable to hire processed, meat intake are just the color rectal cancer deaths, and don't also include the hundred thousand deaths from diabetes or the 400,000 deaths from heart disease. So we, in actuality, we may be talking a half million deaths attributable to process meat and
Not just colon and rectal cancer. If you look at the science, since the iarc decision was published processed, meat may also increase the risk of prostate cancer breast cancer, and pancreatic cancer. Unfortunately, despite growing public health concerns about processed meat consumption. There have been no changes in the amount of processed, meat consumed by us else over the last 18 years. Of course, it would have helped if the last dietary guidelines for Americans had happened to mention that processed meat was a carcinogen an explicit.
In science-based statement on processed meat in the next dietary guidance would certainly help but the scientific committee made, no, such recommendation. Sadly, even those diagnosed with colorectal cancer, hardly improved their overall lifestyle. After diagnosis, though that maybe because 70% of cancer patients had never received nutrition advice from their medical providers during or after treatment that just blows me away. Despite the continued obfuscation, the issue by
Meeting she, they learned well from the tobacco. Merchants meat should continue to be a focus of Public Health action. New York City is leading the way passing legislation to ban processed Meats from school meals on, what a concept. Not giving our kids carcinogens. Meanwhile, the process meat industry is trying to reformulate its products. God kind of like in the pharmaceutical area where you try to mitigate the potential adverse effects of one, drug by prescribing an additional drug like you could add fiber to hot dogs.
Or something to try to counter balance. The risk, potentially reducing the cancer load by changing how its processed. Rather than by Banning processed meat
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