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Bacon is one of the most controversial food items and topics out there lately. People seem to have a love-hate relationship with it. The WHO claims it causes cancer, and LCHF dieters swear by it. We find the truth to be somewhere in between.

The World Health Organization (WHO) really stirred things up when they published a report claiming that bacon, hot dogs, and other processed meats are as likely to cause cancer as cigarettes; putting them in the same danger group with alcohol or asbestos (IACR Group 1). The public and meat manufacturers went mad. They later issued the statement that not all these substances are classified as “equally dangerous”. It was described by the IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) that the classifications are not about in which amount something is dangerous, but how much scientific evidence stands behind it. They placed red meat in category 2A (out of five), which means “probably carcinogenic.” Over the years, we have heard many times that they have found “strong evidence” on dangers of meat, but everything seems to be weak. Many renowned scientists disapprove this kind of approach, some of them called WHO's report and all the fuss rather irresponsible.

Science Behind The Claims

For a while researchers are trying to fathom how and why red meat causes cancer, but they now agree it is about some chemicals inside the meat. They claim there's a chemical which dyes the meat red called haem, which in our guts apparently breaks into dangerous compounds called N-nitroso. These little compounds are then doing damage to the cells lining the bowel. Regarding the processed meat, adding the substances to preserve it — or by smoking and salting — meat develops cancerous substances (carcinogens).

The World Heath Organization stated that “this recommendation was based on epidemiological studies suggesting that small increases in the risk of several cancers may be associated with high consumption of red meat or processed meat.” It's been years and years of unproven theories.

For most of our lives, we have been told not to eat fatty foods because — by their very nature — they make us fat. “It's even in the name!” Well, one experiment proved it wrong. A journalist named Gregory Ferenstein did an experiment with bacon. Over the one month period, he stuffed himself with big amounts of bacon and heavy cream, with few pieces of fruit and vegetables here and there (don't do this though). Seventy percent of his calories came from fat. He cut as many carbohydrates as it was possible. Ultimately, he lost seven pounds and one percent body fat. Ferenstein published a report on his experience and how America's hate towards fat is not based on facts, but only in the observational correlation among trans-fat and heart disease. He claims this anti-fat trend is consequently making people devour in other bad food choices, like too much sugar and carbs.

While eating too much bacon might suit someone's needs, “one size fits all” approach never works in real life.

Everyone has different needs and metabolism, and while for someone bacon could be a good pick, for someone else it could cause disasters including hormonal imbalances, heart attack, and even cancer. This is why we always recommend moderation and listening to your body's needs.


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