Ahhhh...the smell of bacon cooking! Most love it and relish the delicious pork treat. However, you may have heard that eating processed meat is as dangerous as smoking. Not true! However, there is research-backed beef with eating too much processed meats. What Counts as Processed Meat? Any kind of meat that has been salted, cured, fermented, smoked or preserved. The grocery store, farmers markets and restaurants are PACKED with these meaty offerings. The most common processed meats are bacon, sausage, cold cuts, jerky and hots dogs. If a meat is cooked, ground or chopped ... this isn't the "processing" we are referring too. So, Explain Processing To Me! Scientists are finding that meat-processing techniques, such as adding preservatives like sodium nitrite/nitrate and celery powder, may cause the formation of chemical compounds that can disrupt healthy cells. These unhappy and unhealthy cells can cause tumor growth (eek!). But wait, there is more! Processed meats are typically high in sodium and saturated fat. Diets high in these have been linked to the development of cancer and other chronic diseases. What Are The Risks? The International Agency for Research on Cancer recently labeled processed meats as Group 1 carcinogen - the same rank as tobacco! However, this classification is based on the quality of research, not the severity of health risk. While smoking increases your risk of lung cancer by 20 or more times compared to nonsmokers, eating 2 oz of processed meat daily ups your colorectal cancer risk by 18%. So if your risk was 4.5% (about average), it would rise to 5.3%. To Eat or Not To Eat (processed meats) ... That is the Question. The bottom line is to focus on fresh, whole foods whenever possible! To read the full article, check it out here.