3

votes

Anyone going to cut down on bacon?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 13, 2012 at 9:36 AM

Big news here in the UK this morning is a supposed link between processed meat and pancreatic cancer...although the news report I heard mentioned that this link was additional to the already identified links with obesity and smoking.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-16526695

Is anyone going to change their approach to bacon as a result of this finding?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on January 14, 2012
at 04:36 PM

Cool link Kimmie.

A912ff969107d3eda04ee78c683a6bc5

(178)

on January 14, 2012
at 02:18 PM

So, how did Steve Jobs get there? Do you think he was snarfing bacon when nobody was looking? I know. More than one path up the mountain. They just want everybody to stop eating SO MUCH MEAT! DON'T YOU PEOPLE KNOW IT'S BAD FOR YOU!?

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on January 14, 2012
at 06:26 AM

Dude! You only had a few more words to go!

Medium avatar

(2923)

on January 13, 2012
at 11:01 PM

@Nance -- looks like it's from a British sitcom: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKTsWjbjQ8E

318374167f4c3bf3ac0f13ce48211c75

(106)

on January 13, 2012
at 10:40 PM

processed meat maybe. but that's why I stick with pastured pork belly.

0242b468fe1c97997749db416c92e7ed

(4528)

on January 13, 2012
at 08:58 PM

Do you eat vegetables? http://junkfoodscience.blogspot.com/2008/07/does-banning-hotdogs-and-bacon-make.html

4b911b2e3c5d07e4688ba4c753bc3b3c

(35)

on January 13, 2012
at 08:50 PM

Thanks for the link, interesting piece.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on January 13, 2012
at 07:40 PM

@Dave S, who said that quote? I love it.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on January 13, 2012
at 04:00 PM

"Pigs are annoying, pink and expensive. But they're also delicious. There might be few more polar bears around if people wanted them for breakfast."

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on January 13, 2012
at 03:58 PM

Blah, blah, blah, blah - BACON! Bacon wins!

4781cf8ae1bfcb558dfb056af17bea94

(4359)

on January 13, 2012
at 02:17 PM

That's big news? Something just like that is reported every other wee. You either believe epidemiology is detecting something real or you don't.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on January 13, 2012
at 02:14 PM

you can cure your own bacon yourself if it makes you feel any better: http://ruhlman.com/2010/10/home-cured-bacon-2/

75695cbf01535756d4e0c36dee24693e

(133)

on January 13, 2012
at 12:35 PM

Thanks, haha, I also gave up eating gunpowder too.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19463)

on January 13, 2012
at 11:41 AM

+1,000 -I look forward to the day where everyone in the media says "Ewwww! Wheat! That'll cause leaky gut and brain, diabetes, and and diabesity. Soy! That's a carcinogen and will give you moobs!" Let's make it happen.

D07a525f9021f8d72bf6aaa52893c795

(1011)

on January 13, 2012
at 10:37 AM

Nitrites, not nitrates.. sorry to be pedantic!

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20 Answers

13
Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on January 13, 2012
at 10:00 AM

This is a perfect example of media hype. The article never mentions any scientific information and also doesn't give any detail about how these percentage increases in risk are arrived at. If there's one thing they evidently don't teach in J-school, it's this:

CORRELATION DOES NOT EQUAL CAUSATION

Remember the story last week about the correlation between a 'fatty diet' and brain damage? It was discussed at length here and on Marks' Daily Apple. http://www.marksdailyapple.com/does-high-fat-diet-cause-brain-damage/#axzz1jKZiiHC5. Exactly the same kind of thing. OMG! Stop eating fat! You're gonna get brain damage!

Bottom line for me: don't base your diet on what you read in newspapers. You'll be freaking out on a daily basis and that's not good for cortisol levels.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on January 13, 2012
at 02:14 PM

you can cure your own bacon yourself if it makes you feel any better: http://ruhlman.com/2010/10/home-cured-bacon-2/

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19463)

on January 13, 2012
at 11:41 AM

+1,000 -I look forward to the day where everyone in the media says "Ewwww! Wheat! That'll cause leaky gut and brain, diabetes, and and diabesity. Soy! That's a carcinogen and will give you moobs!" Let's make it happen.

12
96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19463)

on January 13, 2012
at 11:39 AM

Why would you want to cut down on bacon? If you're afraid of nitrates, buy the uncured kind. If you're afraid of CAFO meat, buy pastured.

7
F040035b2008ec80b205481afbd39ad4

on January 13, 2012
at 10:29 AM

This story periodically crops up in the media. Dr David Colqhoun has written a pretty definitive piece on this whole topic. It really is a great article, highly informative on how statistics are manipulated by the popular press. In fact it gives a great primer on the broader issue of statistical analysis in research. A very powerful and informative must-read post.

Diet and health. What can you believe: or does bacon kill you?

"In the UK there were around 5 cases of colorectal cancer per 10,000 population in 2005, so a 20% increase, even if it were real, and genuinely causative. would result in 6 rather than 5 cases per 10,000 people, annually. That makes the risk sound trivial for any individual. On the other hand there were 36,766 cases of colorectal cancer in the UK in 2005. A 20% increase would mean, if the association were causal, about 7000 extra cases as a result of eating processed meat, but no extra cases if the association were not causal. "

4b911b2e3c5d07e4688ba4c753bc3b3c

(35)

on January 13, 2012
at 08:50 PM

Thanks for the link, interesting piece.

3
07842fbab8730403ef284e655083fe0e

(218)

on January 13, 2012
at 10:39 PM

When they define "Processed meats" so broadly as to encompass everything from cheap cereal-and-soy-filled sausages to organic bacon I'm left wondering just what validity these studies are supposed to have.

3
Cf4576cbcc44fc7f2294135609bce9e5

on January 13, 2012
at 04:43 PM

If i eat whole grains, i have 100 percent chance of becoming a type two diabetic. thats my history. If i eat bacon, i have a slim chance of getting pancreatic cancer. why is it i dont read in the paper to avoid grains? All i read is eat whole grains to delay becoming diabetic for 5 years.

2
510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20888)

on January 14, 2012
at 03:01 PM

Little late to the party here, but maybe someone will scroll this far down and read this...

There are tons of problems with epidemiological studies like this one, and they've been discussed everywhere, including paleohacks. So I'm not going to spend too much time rehashing it, but I want to point out a couple of things:

1 - do you know what they classify as "processed meats"? If you're a researcher doing this study, you have to take everything a person eats and break it up into the predefined categories you want to study. Do you break it up by mass, volume, calories? Well, there's a study from the UK that says processed meats cause cancer (maybe it's the one you linked too or another one, I don't know I didn't read this one) and they took ALL of the calories from a slice of pizza and said that it's a "processed meat" if it has pepperoni on it. So unless you read the actual paper and talked to the researchers you don't even know how the foods are classified.

2 - When you do an epidemiological study, you're going "hunting" for correlations. And that's not science. You can hunt for correlations to start your study, to help direct the research, but you should NEVER use them for actual results. Here's why: when you look for a correlation between two variables, you have to pick some level of "confidence" that the correlation is actually a correlation and not just there "by chance". The standard in science is usually p=0.05 (or p=0.95 depending on whether you're coming from mathematics or statistics). What that means is that there's a probability of 5% that your correlation is "by chance" and not actually there. That sounds pretty good, but 5% is 1 in 20. So when you have a huge table of numbers from n epidemiological study and you take every pair of columns and look for a correlation you can easily run across some that are there "by chance". And since the non-correlations aren't reported, you don't know how much they tried to find something that is "significant" and it could be by chance. Here's my favorite cartoon that show this phenomenon: http://xkcd.com/882/

Just like we should always say "correlation does not equal causation" we also need to say "epidemiological studies are only good at best to generate a hypothesis"

2
75695cbf01535756d4e0c36dee24693e

on January 13, 2012
at 10:04 AM

I haven't eaten bacon or ham or sausage for years because of the nitrates.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on January 14, 2012
at 04:36 PM

Cool link Kimmie.

75695cbf01535756d4e0c36dee24693e

(133)

on January 13, 2012
at 12:35 PM

Thanks, haha, I also gave up eating gunpowder too.

0242b468fe1c97997749db416c92e7ed

(4528)

on January 13, 2012
at 08:58 PM

Do you eat vegetables? http://junkfoodscience.blogspot.com/2008/07/does-banning-hotdogs-and-bacon-make.html

D07a525f9021f8d72bf6aaa52893c795

(1011)

on January 13, 2012
at 10:37 AM

Nitrites, not nitrates.. sorry to be pedantic!

1
Fc891327db916c10347b008acde0daca

(1022)

on January 17, 2012
at 11:25 PM

anyone-going-to-cut-down-on-bacon?

1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on January 14, 2012
at 02:07 AM

Our Canadian news channel said the study claimed that 2 slices of bacon would raise your chance of pancreatic cancer by 19%. On that basis I should be dead by now. Unbelievable.

1
F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on January 13, 2012
at 10:58 PM

One major problem with these studies is how can you possibly separate it out from every other factor in someone's life? On top of that, they never take quality into consideration.

I've been trying more and more to source all my bacon and processed meats (sausages, ham) locally. I have a pork belly in my freezer, and I'd like to attempt making my own bacon, though I hear it can be a little tricky to nail down a good method.

So no. Bacon will continue to be on my plate occasionally. Had it this morning scrambled up with eggs, sweet potato, onion, and mushrooms. Yum.

1
15480ad0efe9168bc518967b9a2e240d

on January 13, 2012
at 03:47 PM

I don't pay attention to the media either. They brainwash people that whole grains are good for you and help you lose weight, blah blah blah. They also promote genetically modified foods and corn syrup and everything else unnatural.

I try to stay away from nitrates, but this article is interesting to read, so I wonder if the whole labeling of foods as Nitrate-free is one of the marketing hypes too

0
1da74185531d6d4c7182fb9ee417f97f

on January 18, 2012
at 05:24 AM

Yes, but I decided that before this study came out. I still make my husband some bacon a few times a week because it's the one thing that makes him willing to cut out all the crap, but for me, bacon was one of those "OMG I CAN HAZ BACON???!!!" moments in the beginning of paleo that helped me ease in to the transition from high reward processed foods to whole foods. I eat less added fat now too. I just don't crave it the same way I did in the beginning when I was coming off my grain/refined carb addiction.

0
E42367abfb8229d2f7126f4825380e2e

on January 14, 2012
at 05:30 PM

yes.

as soon as I get the ingredients for that homemade sausage I found on here...

just one more layer of processing gone...

why does my bacon need all those chemicals and sugar anyhow?

0
A912ff969107d3eda04ee78c683a6bc5

on January 14, 2012
at 02:26 PM

Tried some TJ's uncured beef bacon this am. Looked too lean, but tasted ok for being so lean, but I probably won't buy it again. Good thing I had some other bacon with it. No, I'm not cutting down on bacon. I only have it on the weekends as it is.

0
5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on January 13, 2012
at 10:54 PM

They'll only get my bacon when they pry it out of my... Well you get the idea. :)

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on January 14, 2012
at 06:26 AM

Dude! You only had a few more words to go!

0
6714718e2245e5190017d643a7614157

on January 13, 2012
at 08:44 PM

I don't care what that news article says, I'm still going to eat my nitrate free organic bacon. I only eat about 4 slices a week so I don't see any big health risks from eating only 4 slices of bacon when I've already cut out all grains and industrial seed oils.

0
8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on January 13, 2012
at 05:12 PM

I have quit eating bacon, and also most other pork for awhile to improve my omega6/omega3 ratio. I don't pay attention to epidemiology.

0
F1b39d4f620876330312f4925bd51900

(4090)

on January 13, 2012
at 05:06 PM

I gave up bacon because I am avoiding foods that might contain soy. (So turkey, chicken, eggs, and pork). I have found some sources that are soy-feed free..like for eggs, but mostly I am too lazy. So my all time favorite food is on hold for now. Giving up these foods has 100% freed me from inflammation, so it was worth it.

0
D5a4ff096a452a84a772efa0e6bc626e

(2486)

on January 13, 2012
at 03:30 PM

I gave up changing my diet based on the headlines years ago. However, bacon as my primary meat source for a meal just makes me feel manky...I'm not sure whether it's the feedlot pigs, or the curing process (conventional or 'natural') or what. But I do love my bacon and green veggies as a side dish one dinner a week or so. Anyone have a good lead on happy-pig bacon that's tasty?

0
140ad7f1c18e36d21c44a387834e6299

on January 13, 2012
at 10:29 AM

well I usually have 750 gr of processed meat per week (400gr for 6 sausages and 350gr for 2 burgers), I'm planning on cutting it down to 200gr pw, I'll just eat more Tuna and poultry.

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