In wake of a recent study, researchers from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer (EPIC) have concluded that red meat intake is "no longer associated with mortality." Basically, the study showed that, yes, people who eat high quantities of processed meats are not as healthy as people who do not eat high quantities of processed meats, but it also indicated that the disparity in health could be linked to a slew of other factors because people who eat bacon is dumb.
The study indicated that people who eat a lot of processed meats are also more likely to smoke, eat few fruits and vegetables, and have lower levels of education. They're much fatter and exercise less than the rest of the sample. And men in this category are also serious boozers. Oh, and the heavy meat eaters were older, too—so many of them were well into their 70s by the time they suffered the consequences of too many sausage rolls.
So, the bacon is okay, but it's the rest of our crappy habits that are killing us? Guess it's time to EAT MORE BACON.
Seriously, though, the researchers delved further into the issue, but couldn't fully separate processed meat consumption from the rest of our awful habits.
The researchers did try to adjust for the booze and smoking, education, and even sugar consumption, but they couldn't completely factor those things out or there would be very few people left in the study. Out of 127,000 or so male participants, a mere 619 were heavy processed-meat eaters who'd never smoked. And as it turns out, the scientists couldn't find a significant association between heavy processed-meat consumers and nonsmokers, only former or current smokers—a finding they acknowledge is "compatible with residual confounding by smoking." Which begs the question: Is it the bacon or is the cigarettes that's killing these people? Concluding that it's only the bacon that's the culprit here seems like a stretch.
This, combined with the findings that "all-cause mortality was higher among participants with very low or no red meat consumption," helped researchers to the conclusion that the junior western bacon chee that you scarfed down at lunch isn't killing you.
A British researcher named Zoe Harcombe does a wonderful job breaking down the results of the study and explaining that, eventually, we all die (with or without bacon). She also highlights the findings which indicate that—while we're here, at least—bacon doesn't seem to be all that bad. [MotherJones]