For those who can’t do without their bacon-cheeseburger, some good news: scientists found no associations between beef, bacon, hamburger, sausage or steak and bladder cancer.
The culprits in the cold cuts are nitrates and nitrites which are added to meat when it is processed to preserve and enhance colour and flavour. “Nitrate and nitrite are precursors to N-nitroso compounds (NOCs), which induce tumours in many organs, including the bladder, in multiple animal species,” the study says. The scientists found that people whose diets were high in nitrites from all sources, not just meats, and people who got a lot of nitrates in their diets from processed meats, like cold cuts, had a 28 to 29 percent greater chance of developing bladder cancer than those who consumed the lowest amount of either compound. The scientists also found that people who ate the most red meat were younger, less educated, less physically active, and had lower dietary intake of fruits, vegetable, and vitamins C and E than those consuming the least red meat.