There's been a big uproar in the news today comparing eating bacon to smoking cigarettes. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has released a report warning about potential cancer-causing properties of processed meat- including hot dogs, bacon and lunch meat. So what does this mean for you and your family?
The WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer has declared there is convincing evidence that processed meats contribute to a higher risk of cancer, and red meat is possibly linked to cancer. Whilst this sounds incredibly alarm
ing (thanks to the media!) this isn't actually new information. Indeed, we've known for a long time that people who eat large amounts of red meat or processed meats have a higher risk of developing colorectal cancer. The key words here are 'large amounts of meat'. This is equivalent to a serve of ham/bacon/salami every day or >100g portion of red meat every day. On average, people have a 5% risk of developing colorectal cancer in their lifetime. If you are a heavy meat consumer then your lifetime risk increase from 5% to 6%. I don't think we should ignore this evidence, but we certainly don't need to panic.
Meat can play a useful nutritional role in our diets, providing us and our kids with valuable nutrients like protein, iron and vitamin B12. So, how do we avoid becoming heavy meat consumers?
Eat red meat a few times a week if it's already a part of your family diet. Include chicken, fish and vegetarian meals regularly. Keep processed meat such as ham or bacon as occasional foods. Funnily enough, this is exactly what our current dietary guidelines say!
So is giving your child a piece of ham equivalent to giving them a cigarette? NO!
Do you need to eliminate red meat, bacon and ham from your diet? Absolutely not!
Should you continue to offer your children a variety of foods? Most definitely.
If you'd like more nutritional advice, support with feeding your family or help with fussy eating then please get in touch. Email firstname.lastname@example.org