While participating in the recent Atlanta 10-miler run, me and I’m sure hundreds if not thousands of participants were surprised by the smell of bacon wafting from a home on the rather challenging course. That wasn’t fair. While I’m not a bacon eater/lover, it was a cruel joke. The smell made me hungry - and I am sure others in the race. I don’t have proof, but I think the ‘food tease instigator’ fried up bacon outside during that event on purpose. Methinks this same person did this during previous 10-miler races in his or her neighborhood.
The day after that race, it was announced that processed meats like bacon are worse than cigarettes. Ha! Score one for the runners who worked incredibly hard through that race, right? Seriously, what is the real story behind this “War on Bacon” news?
As most of us know by now, the World Health Organization released a report saying that bacon, sausages, salami, bologna, hot dogs and generally red meat may cause cancer. The brouhaha with the meat processors and the WHO got quite heated through the week after 22 scientists reviewed evidence linking red and processed meat to cancer. The WHO folks found that regularly consuming meat increases the risk of colorectal cancer.
Do these WHO findings mean that this is the time to go “full veggie?” We have been told that the recommendations for a decent diet include eating a lot of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, peas, beans, legumes, nuts along and consume low amounts of lean red meats, chicken, fish and very little sodium and sugar. Yadda, Yadda, Yadda. We get that - it’s been drilled into our heads for years and every time it’s reported, we act like it’s something new. This all still begs the question: Is it okay to eat meat or shall we officially declare that “War on Bacon,” or “War on Meat?”
So, here we go again. A study is released. It’s reported everywhere. In this case, meat lovers are irate. Veggie lovers are gloating. The talk masters go into culinary-attack mode trying to make the study political. The whole thing is perfect fodder for comedians and late-night show talk hosts even inspiring CBS-TV Late Show host Stephen Colbert to literally smoke bacon on air. The morning gab fests talk it all to death. The conclusion is always the same when these reports are released: consume the food in moderation.
The basic point here is if you consume processed meat every day, you’re increasing your cancer risk. The study doesn’t say you will instantly fall over from eating a hot dog. One person who lives on meat every day might be fine while a vegan could develop health issues and vice versa. It all depends on a myriad of factors, but the key word in the discussion is “risk.” At the end of the day, it’s all about how much you’re willing to risk when it comes to certain food consumption. The choice is yours. Now, I’m about ready to get back out and run where I will risk experiencing the great smells coming out of J. Alexander’s.