So last week I posted a blog about how the World Health Organization (WHO) had found a link between cancer and the consumption of bacon and other processed meats.
It was a pretty popular article because a lot of you wanted to know why bacon is now considered a carcinogen by the WHO.
In an effort to show you why it’s important not to take new research and run with it as the literal truth, I’d like to tell you about a study from last year, which shows how the WHO calling bacon a carcinogen is a bit dramatic.
A study published in Plos Genetics showed the risk posed by bacon and other meats didn’t have much to do with the food itself but more the DNA of the person eating it.
Wow, who would have guessed genetics might play a role in health?
This is actually something we take very seriously here at Health As It Ought to Be and why we recommend genetic profiling tests from companies like 23andMe…so people can create optimized diets and supplementation programs which improve their health.
Scientists reviewed records of nearly 20,000 people in several countries – the U.S, Canada, Australia and Germany. Around 50% of the subjects had cancer and the other half didn’t. They then attempted to figure out if there was a genetic reason for the difference. Their research led them to focus on a genetic variation of the 10th chromosome where they identified something of note.
They discovered those who developed colorectal cancer (that’s the cancer the WHO said is likely to result from bacon consumption) had a particular nucleotide (genetic building block) the others didn’t.That nucleotide alone was responsible for the increased risk of cancerIn they concluded.
Jane C. Figueiredo, co-author of the study, said, “What this suggests is that there are some people who should be more careful with processed meat, and that there are some that did not increase their risks by eating processed meat.”
It makes sense, really. There are known risk factors all of us have that predispose us to certain conditions.
Which is why it’s important to understand that when an organization, like the WHO, lays out a blanket statement on bacon and red meat, you might want to take a second to see if there’s anything else to learn before you accept their claim.
So, what does this study means for you?
First, it means you shouldn’t necessarily kick bacon to the curb.
You don’t need to be afraid of bacon.
The other thing is, it pays to know more about your personal genetic profile.
When you know more about your genetic profile, it gives you an opportunity to take control of your health in a way that allows you to build a custom diet, helping to promote “Health As It Ought To Be.”
That’s exactly what one of the other co-authors of the genetics study said.
Ulrike Peters serves at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
He believes, “We are just at the tip of the iceberg in this research…I believe that the public health messages for smoking, physical activity, alcohol and dietary factors will remain the same. But we will also be able to identify some groups who are at a higher risk.”
And I agree!
Want to learn more about the benefits of bacon? Read my article on the 6 Benefits of Bacon.