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WHO: Processed Meat Could Cause Cancer

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- There's a new warning about eating processed meat. The World Health Organization says it can cause cancer, and they also say eating red meat probably does, too.

Mary Bubala has more.

World cancer researchers say people who fill up on processed foods like bacon, sausage and hot dogs face a real risk of colon, stomach and other cancers.

Scientists from the World Health Organization say eating processed meats, including those that are smoked, cured or salted, poses the same cancer risk as smoking.

"Having a bologna sandwich tomorrow is not going to harm you. Having a bologna sandwich every day, your risk will be higher," said Dr. Ken Miller, LifeBridge Health.

Dr. Miller at LifeBridge Health's Lapidus Cancer Center says we should take the recommendations as a broader reminder about eating healthier.

"But what all of us can take away from this is that as we make food choices, it might be better to lean away from processed meats, to have fresh food, also more of a plant-based diet," Dr. Miller said.

While doctors have long warned against eating too much meat, the WHO report goes a step further, classifying processed meat as cancer-causing and red meat as a likely cause of cancer.

The North American Meat Institute is calling the report "dramatic" and "alarmist" and argues cancer is a complex disease "not caused by a single food."

But the World Health Organization says it has hard evidence that came from the evaluation of 800 studies from several continents about meat and cancer.

The new report says grilling, pan frying or cooking red meat at high temperatures produces the highest amounts of chemicals suspected to cause cancer.

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