Bacon causes cancer – say it isn't so?!

People around the world groaned in dismay when the World Health Organisation (WHO) added bacon to its list of group one carcinogens. Essentially what they are saying is that bacon causes cancer. Will breakfast ever be the same?!

Is there truth behind the claim that bacon causes cancer?

The problem lies in the fact that bacon, like all sorts of deli meats, contains nitrite and nitrate. When you fry or grill your bacon, the high temperature causes the nitrates and nitrites to produce another compound – one that causes cancer. An example of this is salt: eating lots of salt has been linked to an increased chance of developing stomach cancer.

What about nitrite free bacon?

Products labelled as nitrite free bacon were not specifically addressed by the WHO. They also failed to state how much bacon will increase your chances of getting cancer. But seeing that they have stated that bacon causes cancer, some cautionary tactics are advised.

  • You can either not eat bacon at all, or eat less of it.
  • If you can’t live with the thought of life without bacon, reserve it for special occasions.
  • Make sure that you only eat a small portion of bacon at a time.
  • Rather than cooking bacon at high temperatures, think of alternative cooking methods such as baking it in a casserole.
  • Your regular diet should consist of fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, and whole grains. Limiting alcohol is also a good idea. And, of course, you need to participate in regular exercise. These lifestyle choices will all lower your chances of getting cancer.

So if bacon causes cancer, it’s best to forget about a hearty daily breakfast of consisting eggs and bacon. Yes, there are people who will argue against the findings of the WHO. But when it comes to your health, nothing beats good nutrition and exercise. And, however you want to look at it, bacon is not a staple in a healthy balanced diet.