‘Processed meat’ includes meat, usually pork or beef but also poultry, organs, and by-products like blood, that has been salted, cured, fermented, smoked or otherwise processed to improve flavor or preservation. Think hot dogs, ham, corned beef, sausages, jerky, and canned meat.
‘Red meat’ includes mammalian muscle meat, such as beef, veal, pork, lamb, mutton, horse and goat.
For the record, this study did not distinguish between different types of meat, such as fatty versus lean, organic versus conventional, etc. because the suspected culprits are compounds naturally occurring in meat or formed during processing or high-heat cooking.
What’s an eater to do?
Well, the good news is that this seemingly groundbreaking news isn’t so groundbreaking.
These recommendations are consistent with what we already know about healthy eating, which is to eat a mostly plant based diet full of vegetables, fruit, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds.
Does this study suggest that all of us have to become vegans?
Does it cause reason to believe that the occasional burger, BLT or rib eye is going to cause colon cancer?
Does it propose that including a bit of red meat in a diet that is otherwise full of plants is dangerous for our health?
Does it provide more evidence for us to limit our total intake of red meat to less than a pound per week and restrict our intake of processed meats to only very special occasions a few times per year?
Yes, I think so.