Exactly How Healthy Is Our Food?

Exactly How Healthy Is Our Food?

Grayson Webb, Staff Writer

Last month information was released to the general public involving some of our favorite foods.  Many people are already aware that bacon is not the healthiest thing to eat.  So unfortunately, this news is a little devastating. A recent study released by the World Health Organization (yes, they are a pretty big deal) states that all the processed meat that is consumed at a high rate could cause cancer.  The WHO stated that the animal proteins found in these meats, which could also be in red meat as well, belong to the same category as cigarettes and asbestos.

 It is indeed a bit scary to think about, but vital information that the public fully deserves to know. This might make a lot of people consider traveling further from their home and paying higher prices to purchase meat that is grass fed on a farm, not processed, and in general a much healthier alternative to eating the meat found at the town Wal-Mart.  The extra money may be worth the healthier food.

The WHO also suggested that the study does not mean “Quit eating meat and become a vegetarian.” It is meant to shed light on the fact that processed meats such as sausage, bacon, and ham should take up a very small portion of everybody’s diet, because consuming these meats at a lower rate does not pose a high threat of developing cancer from them like consuming them at a high rate does.  Processed meat simply means the meat has been modified in an effort to extend its shelf life or change the taste.  The main ways that meats are processed include smoking, curing, or adding salt or preservatives.  A more in-depth list of some processed meats is sausages, bacon, hot dogs, corned beef, salami, beef jerky, and ham as well as things like canned meat and meat-based sauces.

The scariest part of all this is that most people probably cannot say they do not consume these on a pretty regular basis. Diet re-evaluation is bound to occur amongst many people after the release of the information from this study.

A good context as to how high the threat really is, compared to smoking, is as follows: 21 percent of bowel cancers are caused by red or processed meats, while 86 percent of lung cancer is caused by smoking, 19 percent of all cancers caused by tobacco, 3 percent of all cancers caused by red or processed meat.

The key concept that needs to be taken away from the valuable information provided by this study is that all things are better for you in moderation, especially the things we eat that we know pose a threat to a healthy lifestyle.  The information is all right there—what everybody makes of it is up to them.

Also keep in mind this is not the first time that information like this has been released to the general public. In 2002 the same information was released by the American Cancer Society and the same thing happened: at first there was a lot of commotion about it all over the media and amongst the public.  However, after a little bit of time it blew over and nobody was even concerned with the information anymore.  A fact that can validate this is the fact that today Americans are consuming more processed meat than they were a dozen years ago.  Talk is cheap when there is no action to follow it, especially when the action that is necessary is so obvious.