RadioMD: Naturally Savvy

The WHO's Findings on Processed Meat

October 28, 20159 min
Do you really have to give up your bacon for good?The World Health Organization (WHO) recently came out with a report suggesting a link between meat/processed meat and cancer; specifically colorectal cancer. Before you ditch your bacon and turn to an exclusively plant-based diet, there are some things about this study (and others) to consider.Registered Dietitian Ashley Koff says the key, no matter what kinds of food you're eating, is to eat less. Define exactly what an "appropriate portion" is. For meat, that's typically the size of the palm of your hand.The second factor of importance is to look at the quality of the meat you're eating. Is it grass-fed? Organic? Or, chock full of antibiotics and other preservatives?Processing used to be a good thing; a healthy thing in fact. You wanted to be able to preserve that slab of meat so it would not go to waste. Now, manufacturers are processing food to be readily available, in large quantities, and so that they last a really, really long time on the shelf.Finally, Koff says it's essential to maintain a healthy digestive system. If you don't, you're not able to break down those meats and it can lead to any number of health issues. In the end, studies like these are needed, and the research will continue. But, says Koff, don't get too wrapped up in the details. Eat less, eat well, and maintain a healthy digestive system and you'll be well on your way to overall great health.

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