I don’t want people to be unreasonably afraid of different foods. So I made a handy table (based on the WHO’s clarification Q&A) for you to assess the risk and make up your own mind:
The World Health Organization/IARC issued a Q&A, clarifying the carcinogenicity of processed meat. Here’s what it said about risk:
No, processed meat has been classified in the same category as causes of cancer such as tobacco smoking and asbestos (IARC Group 1, carcinogenic to humans), but this does *NOT* mean that they are all equally dangerous.
The IARC classifications describe the strength of the scientific evidence about an agent being a cause of cancer, rather than assessing the level of risk.
You can read their release here:
According to the most recent estimates by the Global Burden of Disease Project, an independent academic research organization, about 34 000 cancer deaths per year worldwide are attributable to diets high in processed meat.
These numbers contrast with about 1 million cancer deaths per year globally due to tobacco smoking, 600 000 per year due to alcohol consumption, and more than 200 000 per year due to air pollution.
I was pretty amazed after putting the data they offered to contrast risk into a simple table (above), how clear it is.
It isn’t zero risk, like some people say. But to be accurate: Air pollution has a 6 times greater risk of death than processed meat, alcohol has a 17 times greater risk, and smoking has a 29 times greater risk.
Again, my only stand is that people aren’t driven by the media to be unreasonably afraid of different kinds of foods. Here, you can see the numbers, read the WHO/IARC’s clarification, and make up your own mind.