For the majority of our readership these must be confusing times with the tsunami of scientific information inundating us on a daily basis. If everything causes cancer and it is professed cancer is everywhere in everything we breathe and touch and eat what hope is there? Factually, we have wrestled premature cardiovascular disease into a controllable state so naturally the populace in general is living a longer (averaged) life. In spite of questionable evidence pointed everywhere but on target, The single greatest risk factor for cancer has been and always will be your increasing age. There are clearly defined exceptions such as smoking, chewing, working in mines and asbestos exposure where age is not the dominant factor.
My line in the sand is bacon. Yes, bacon. If you missed the headline, no less august a body than the World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer has added processed meats such as bacon, sausage and ham to the list of LEVEL ONE carcinogens right up there with asbestos, plutonium, coal mine dust and tobacco smoke. Even red meat was placed in a slightly lower category that includes night shift work and painting. According to WHO as little as two strips of bacon or 50 grams cooked weight (or one sausage link) increases your risk of colon cancer by about 20 percent. To date, my search has found no scientific basis for this claim. Cigarettes have a proven propensity for a cancer demise in the ballpark of 15 times greater than the risk in the general populace exposed to other carcinogens and of course, smoking has no redemptive qualities. Even red meat received a failing grade in spite of its proven nutritional qualities.
We have experienced similar doomsday warnings about several other food groups. There was a like assault on our salt intake driven by the real science observation excess salt Is associated with the development of abnormal blood pressure levels particularly in some ethnic minorities. The U.S. HEART ASSOCIATION is leading this charge down a wrong road recommending a restriction to 1500 mgs per day based on flawed data focusing on patients with known hypertension. In a more thorough and logical study on a mass population in 2014 that addressed all stages of heart health it was shown conclusively the LOWEST death rates for stroke and cardiac events were found in the populace consuming between 3000 and 4500 mgs of salt per diem. The American Food and Drug Admin has wisely created new guidelines focusing on the reduction of salt (sodium) in packaged food and fast food restaurant foods. Our Canadian guidelines usually mirror the American because we share so many food sources.
As further proof fuzzy thinking tends to trickle from the top downward, the European Court of Justice has declared OBESITY can be a disability and compounding this travesty is the American Medical Association declaring obesity is a disease!
I will concede a minority of obesity can be linked to a diagnosable endocrine disorder but the majority is nothing more sinister than a combination of bacchusian indulgence and slothful inertia. Clearly, these decisions have not been thought through to their inevitable conclusions. If you can legally describe yourself as disabled where is the incentive to address the root cause of your malady? Fact is too many of us are digging our own grave with our spoon and our fork. A full third of our adult population is now eligible for a preferred parking placement and a government pension.
In the news business the mantra is always Who, What, Where, Why, and When. Consumers need to be critical of science and health information using the same standard. Controlling what we eat in the absence of proven need is an intrusion by government we don’t need. On that note, I’m kitchen bound for my next BLT and leave you to digest this article at your own pace.
Written by: Dr. David Carll