There’s no need to eat less red or processed meat, group says, prompting criticism

Health news that’s bound to get bacon lovers’ attention is also stirring controversy in the medical community.

After years of warnings about the potential harms of red meat and processed meat, including links to cancer and heart disease, a panel of experts from seven countries on Monday said people don’t need to cut down on their current consumption of products like ham, sausage, luncheon meat and bacon.

The recommendations, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, were made by nutriRECS, a consortium of experts that describes its mission as producing trustworthy nutritional guidelines “based on the values, attitudes and preferences of patients.”

The new guidelines come after reviews of previous research on how eating red meat and processed meat affected the risk of disease. Canadian, Spanish and Polish researchers said they found anywhere from no, to a very small, to a small association between meat consumption and the risk of heart disease, diabetes or cancer.