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Debating World Health Organization warning that links cancer to red, processed meat




Food on display at Hot Dog Happy Hour with Mo Rocca during the New York City Wine & Food Festival at The Standard, High Line, Biergarten & Garden on October 17, 2014 in New York City.
Food on display at Hot Dog Happy Hour with Mo Rocca during the New York City Wine & Food Festival at The Standard, High Line, Biergarten & Garden on October 17, 2014 in New York City.
Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for NYCWFF

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The World Health Organization said Monday that a link has been made between red, processed meat and colorectal cancer.

According to the study done by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, eating 8 grams of processed meat a day like hot dogs and bacon can up the risk of cancer by 18 percent because of chemicals used during processing.

It also linked those meats as “possibly carcinogenic” and puts them in the same risk category as tobacco. But this doesn’t necessarily mean eating beef jerky is as bad as smoking cigarettes.

Red meat was also cited in the study as a possible contributor to cancer when cooked at high temperatures.

But some say the study oversimplifies processed meat as a cause of cancer, including the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, which said the disease was too complex for even the brightest minds to understand and that a balanced diet includes meat like beef.

What do you think of the study? Do you believe the findings oversimplify meat as a cause of cancer or are the results a fair?

Guests:

Mariana Stern, Ph.D., associate professor of research preventive medicine at USC’s Keck School of Medicine. She was also part of the WHO panel that released the meat analysis

Shalene McNeill, Ph.D., director of human nutrition research at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association; McNeill is a registered dietitian