A study published in 2015 by a division of the World Health Organization concluded that eating bacon and other processed meats can increase your chances of having cancer by up to 18%. Their definition of processed meats includes other foods such as sausages, corned beef, hot dogs, beef jerky, canned meat, meat-based preparations and sauces, turkey and chicken cold cuts.
They labeled processed meats a carcinogen much like tobacco because a strong association was found between their consumption with both stomach and colorectal cancer.
Scientists believe that the cause for this is a build up of carcinogenic chemicals such as N-nitroso-compounds (NOC) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) as the meat is being processed.
While this means that it’s probably best for you to limit your consumption of processed meats, not all hope is lost. The studies were mostly based on individuals who ate processed meat daily – the rest of us don’t have to become vegetarians.
We’ve also got alternatives to fall back on. All Parma ham products have been nitrate free for over twenty five years to date, which means that you can swap out your bacon for a few slices of prosciutto instead.