By John Schlageck, Kansas Farm Bureau
The key to a healthy diet is to eat a variety of foods including grains, milk, vegetables, meat and fruits – all in moderation. Each of us needs to make smart choices about when we eat and how much.
In spite of this widespread consensus to eat in moderation and variety, there are plenty of detractors who are trying to limit the amount of protein, especially red meat from the everyday diet. Most of these opponents preach eating less or no beef and little pork.
Dietary guidelines are supposed to tell us what we should eat for good nutrition. Such recommendations are as plentiful as the half-truths or flat-out-falsehoods we’re bombarded with daily during this upcoming presidential election.
Numerous organizations – including the World Health Organizations that recently classified bacon as a carcinogen – have been issuing their own guidelines about what they would have us eat based on their agendas. Oftentimes these guidelines are too dogmatic, containing specific recommendations for everyone while overlooking allowances for individual differences.
Take the recent edict on bacon Just 1.8 ounces of bacon daily, two strips, raises a person’s risk of colorectal cancer by 18 percent, warned the WHO. But bacon and hot dogs aren’t the only meats singled out. A whole plate of other salted, cured and smoked meats has also earned the WHO’s high-risk classification.
Calm down bacon lovers, while processed meats may be in the same category as cigarettes, they’re not equally dangerous. Here’s the real skinny on this recent bombshell.
For each of these substances, there’s evidence that some amount of exposure may increase a person’s risk of at least one type of cancer. In the case of cigarettes, regular smoking raises your risk of lung cancer 2,500 percent and causes about 1 million cancer deaths a year.
On the other hand, only 34,000 annual deaths worldwide can be attributed to diets high in processed meat. So if you eat a couple strips of bacon daily, your already small 4.5 percent life-time risk of colorectal cancer may go up to 5.3 percent.
Occasionally enjoying a couple strips of bacon with your eggs simply isn’t that dangerous. Be sensible about this tasty treat. Savor every bite and eat in moderation.
The United States is made up of individuals who need to adjust their diets to allow for their own states of health, age, development, risks of chronic disease and personal tastes.
Beef, chicken, fish, lamb and pork belong in our diets. Roasted, baked, broiled, grilled or simmered – no matter how you cook ‘em – all are high in nutritional quality. They’re good for the body as well as the mind.
When it comes to eating, the truth is, nothing compares to the smell, sound and taste of bacon sizzling in a skillet in preparation for a week-end breakfast.
Make mine Applewood, double smoked.
John Schlageck is a leading commentator on agriculture and rural Kansas. Born and raised on a diversified farm in northwestern Kansas, his writing reflects a lifetime of experience, knowledge and passion.
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