“Bacon causes cancer!” reads the alarmist headline from the World Health Organization. It continues, “two slices or more of bacon a day was associated with a risk increase [of colorectal cancer] of 18 percent.”
Take a deep breath.
Then laugh along with us.
You know what else causes cancer?
The WHO (a fitting acronym for them) is now classifying processed meats like bacon, ham, and sausage as a “group 1 carcinogen,” comparing it to wood dust and asbestos (neither of which you should eat). Its classification as a “group 1 carcinogen” right next to tobacco as if the two are comparable is downright dangerous— WHO themselves admit this shortcoming in their classification system.
We realize that cancer is a serious issue. We’re concerned but the WHO does an awful job at communicating the actual risk. For example, the 18% statistic is misleading. There’s an 18% increase in risk from an absurdly small starting point (1 in 10,000). This is like saying that buying two lottery tickets doubles your chances of winning; we all know that the overall chance is miniscule. If we followed WHO’s rules, maybe we should all stop going outside when it’s sunny? That’s how absurd this finding is.
(Fun fact #2: WHO also classifies alcohol as a carcinogen.)
And let’s talk about how shifty the actual report is. Cancer risk is complex. There’s a lot of other factors, including your own genetics, that determine your risk of cancer. Linking specific foods to an increased risk of cancer is difficult and may not necessarily lead to a statistically significant conclusion.
Oh, you know what else WHO classifies as cancer-causing?
Also, there’s that one other story we posted about a woman who lived to be 116 by eating bacon. So, there’s that. If there’s one good thing to come out of this report, it’s that some people not committed to the bacon cause turn vegan, leaving more bacon for the rest of us. And for that, we thank the World Health Organization.
Plot twist: Vegans don’t live forever and lead miserable, bacon-less lives when they’re alive.
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