Are Hot Dogs the New Cigarettes?


Earlier this week the International Agency for Research on Cancer characterized red meat and processed meats as carcinogens that increase the risk of colorectal cancers.

Now this is really scary:

Earlier this week the International Agency for Research on Cancer characterized red meat and processed meats as carcinogens that increase the risk of colorectal cancers. That means that hamburger at Shake Shack isn't only guilty of adding to the tire around one's midsection but is also contributing to the likelihood of getting colon and rectal cancer.

The IARC under auspices of the World Health Organization utilized over 800 studies regarding cancer in humans in relation to red meat and/ or processed meat and concluded carcinogenic chemicals form when preparing the said meats. The resulting classification puts processed meat in the same category of carcinogens as smoking tobacco and asbestos and labels red meat as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

So what is processed meat and red meat? "Red meat refers to all mammalian muscle meat, including, beef, veal, pork, lamb, mutton, horse, and goat."

And processed meat is any meat "transformed through salting, curing, fermentation, smoking, or other processes to enhance flavour or improve preservation." This includes ham, bacon, hot dogs and sausages, says the WHO

Does this mean that for your next backyard BBQ you should switch out the hot dogs and hamburgers for chicken, fish, and vegetables? Not exactly. The WHO does not recommend giving up meat all together but rather suggests following their 2002 recommendation to moderate the consumption of red and processed meat, confirming our longtime suspicion that red meat and processed meats aren't that good for you.