from Tufts University Health & Nutrition Update, January 20, 2012

Processed meats such as bacon, sausage, lunch meats and ham increase the risk of pancreatic cancer, as does red meat of all kinds for men.  A Swedish study published in the British Journal of Cancer reports that a daily dose of 1.76 ounces (four slices of bacon) of processed meat increases the risk of contracting pancreatic cancer by 19%.

Swedish researchers reviewed 11 studies totaling more than 2,000,000 people, of whom 6,643 had pancreatic cancer.  Across the board, the link with processed meat consumption was observed.  But only men showed a greater risk of pancreatic cancer with higher red meat consumption, possibly because they consume more red meats than do women

The findings, researchers concluded, support the American Cancer Society’s recommendations to limit consumption of red and processed meats.

Though pancreatic cancer is relatively rare, it’s on the rise in the US and is the fourth leading cause of death from cancer, partly because it’s difficult to detect in its early stages—an important reason to take preventive dietary steps against the disease.

My Take on the study:  I think it’s especially important for parents to consider limiting the amount of processed foods and red meats in their children’s diets.  The children are too young to understand the long-term risks of over-indulging in certain foods.

They’ll have plenty of time to make their own choices, good or bad, when they’re older.  How children are raised in their formative years will have a strong influence on those choices.

As a child, my own son thought it was a form of child abuse that we didn’t have junk foods in the house.  By third grade, he was critical of the food his friends brought in their school lunches at Phillips.

By sixth grade, under protest, he prepared a nutritionally balanced meal every other Wednesday.

And today he’s a man who’s even more boring than his mother when it comes to discussing food choices.

Way to go, Carole.


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