Good news from the World Health Organization: you can have your bacon today as part of your balanced diet with even more confidence!
Following the media uproar this week following the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) report on red and processed meats (and subsequent consumer eyeroll), the World Health Organization (WHO) has offered an important follow up and clarification on its recommendations regarding meat consumption saying there are ‘shortcomings’ with the IARC’s classifications which allow the results to be “misinterpreted”. The WHO has also distanced itself from comments made by IARC panel members earlier in week saying that processed meats should be avoided. Their statement is here.
In the Irish Times, WHO spokesperson Gregory Härtl added “Eat healthily means eating a balanced diet, too much of anything is not good.” and “We do not want to compare tobacco and meat because we know that no level of tobacco is safe.”
On twitter, the WHO said “Meat provides a number of essential nutrients and, when consumed in moderation, has a place in a healthy diet”
The WHO said it will further look at the place of processed meat and red meat within the context of an overall healthy diet in 2016.
All of these statements are important context that the media and others should consider when discussing the IARC report and the role of red and processed meat moving forward. They further confirm NAMI’s position that the IARC report and comments from some of its panelists were an overreach and needlessly alarmist.
When nutrition benefits are included in the discussion, red and processed meat have a clear role as part of a healthy, balanced diet. Both are nutrient dense and contribute a wide array of nutrients like zinc, the B vitamins and complete protein with all the amino acids needed for health. Processed meats are a broad category with many different choices, allowing consumers to buy products that best fit their nutrition and health needs.
For more on the nutrition benefits of meat, visit our site, www.meatpoultrynutrition.org