back to article Bacon sarnies can kill: Official

In devastating news for bacon sarnie lovers, boffins have warned of the potentially deadly effects of overdoing it on processed meat products. The chilling results of a Europe-wide survey conclude that those scoffing more than 20g of processed meat a day - equivalent to one meagre rasher of bacon - were at increased risk of …


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  1. Russ Tarbox

    Why is bacon "processed"?

    Decent bacon is prepared the traditional way.

    Also, cavemen survived on red meat, alongside veg and fruit.

    Yet another nonsensical study looking for links between certain food and death. Probably from the same brigade that tells us that fat in foods is bad and oats are good for you.

    1. Captain Hogwash Silver badge

      Re: Why is bacon "processed"?

      The curing process is what makes it bacon rather than pork.

      1. jai

        Re: Why is bacon "processed"?

        the report states that even traditional curing methods produced the negative effects and so its included as processed meat. it seems that any effort to prolong the shelf life of meat has a negative effect on your when you eat it.

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
          Big Brother

          Re: Why is bacon "processed"?

          > it seems that any effort to prolong the shelf life of meat has a negative effect on your when you eat it


          But we only know that people in the QUICK DEATH group like to eat government-pushed stuff (through subsidies, though then it is labelled as 'not good for you' in government-issued warn letters) that can be bought for cheap at Tesco's or at the Kebab corner and have otherwise strong correlation to the LOW INCOME/NOT POSH group.

          Conclusion to causations are.... open.

        2. Heathroi

          Re: Why is bacon "processed"?

          "it seems that any effort to prolong the shelf life of meat has a negative effect on your (shelf life) when you eat it. anyway you have to die of something.

          1. P. Lee Silver badge

            Re: Why is bacon "processed"?

            Preservatives are there to, er, preserve stuff, which is the opposite of why you eat it - your body needs to break it down to use it. You may as well eat flavoured sawdust. You'll be full, but malnourished and you'll be putting a strain on various systems which deal with breaking the food down. The commercial imperative for long shelf life reduces the usefulness of the food.

            Additionally, processing food often leads to changing the nature of what you are eating. So peanut butter may be made from just peanuts, but probably not in their natural ratios of oil to protein. Soy milk may be made from just soy beans and water, but usually its just the soy protein which has been extracted from the beans (because the beans themselves taste nasty) and bound with the water molecules (otherwise they'd separate in transit). The problem is that you may be consuming things in unnatural quantities, which puts a strain on your body's systems - too much fat, too much salt, too much sugar are common culprits - they are cheap to produce and yes, they do taste nice.

            Meat is a very efficient way of consuming stuff, but stuff can be good (nutrients) or bad (poisons, fats). Animals are just a way of processing the veg before consumption. Problems increase when your animals aren't given decent things to eat or are otherwise rendered unhealthy. It gets worse since meat is more difficult to preserve than vegetables and poor diet (feeding sheep to cows) is easy to disguise. The meat industry also attracts subsidies for production which skew the market costs of food. The upshot is, the less processing is involved, the less likely it is that someone has messed up your food.

            Diet is complicated - too complicated to be definitive but there are some generalisations and lessons to be learnt from statistics. Sometimes, by imposing broad guidelines you can avoid specific but common mistakes. For example, you can eat lean meat from healthy sources. However, going vegan means you cut out most of the sources of excessive fat available and can steer you away from a lifestyle-induced heart disease, which is the main cause of premature death in the West. It isn't just dropping things which helps. I've seen plenty of fat unhealthy vegetarians gorging on cheesecake. Dropping the meat isn't helping that much. However, not relying on meat for your nutrients can be a way to force yourself to look at consuming a wide variety of fresh veg, not just mushy peas from a can. Consuming fresh veg with lots of natural colours, not just white stuff, is good for you. This is why non-gmo is important - we don't want to be duped into eating unripe food by genetic shenanigans.

            Personally, I've found that incorporating more raw/barely cooked food and whole grains (e.g. wheat rather than flour) into my diet has provided a lot of benefit. Its extremely planning-intensive, but the results are delicious- which is my main motivation. That's not just raw broccoli, but creative ways of using seeds, nuts and dried-fruit for filling food in tiny portions, compared to say, pasta (which usually implies cheese) which I would normally consume in huge portions. I could do a healthy pasta, but I'm more likely to dump a cheese sauce on it, or use the cheese I bought for it on toast instead. Like awkward change-control, the aim is to force myself to plan properly, rather than try winging it.

      2. Russ Tarbox

        Re: Why is bacon "processed"?

        But the word "processed" has negative connotations.

        I think it's important to distinguish between processed and prepared.

        For example, one would look at the difference between a high quality carved ham, and one that is produced from "reformed pork".

        1. Mostly_Harmless Silver badge

          Re: Why is bacon "processed"?

          "reformed pork"

          Don't be harsh on the poor little piggie...if he's reformed and paid his debt to society

    2. Dazed and Confused

      Re: Why is bacon "processed"?

      Since cave men we've bred out the genes that let us process most raw food.

      We've contracted out part of the digestion process to the frying pan.

    3. fixit_f

      Re: Why is bacon "processed"?

      "Also, cavemen survived on red meat, alongside veg and fruit."

      What, you mean those guys who had an expected average life span of little more than a couple of decades?

      1. Russ Tarbox
        Thumb Up

        Re: Why is bacon "processed"?

        > What, you mean those guys who had an expected average life span of little more than a couple of decades?

        Well yes, but they were also hunted, didn't have access to modern medicine, etc etc.

        I think this is a fairly complex subject. My original point was meant to suggest that we're eating all kinds of crab including sugars, carbs and so forth. I'm pretty sure that cured meats aren't really that high on the list of things we should be worrying about in our diets.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          My archaeologist wife is frothing at the mouth, but I won't let her near the computer to comment on what "cavemen" may or may not of eaten, let alone the actual term cavemen. But if you look to the east you might see a large explosion.

          Vegetarian diet may lead to a 32% reduction in heart disease, but also a 32% reduction in happiness.

          1. Russ Tarbox

            Re: Re:cavemen?

            > Vegetarian diet may lead to a 32% reduction in heart disease, but also a 32% reduction in happiness.

            Couldn't agree more.

            1. Locky Silver badge

              Re: Re:cavemen?

              There is no way I fought my way to the top of the food chain to become vegetarian....

          2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

            Re: Re:cavemen?

            I think you'll find it's a 99% reduction in happiness. All vegetarians secretly eat bacon. It has been scientifically proved that people who don't eat bacon have a mortality rate of 100%!

            Also, we've heard all that crap about Quorn being made of mushrooms and the tears of rescued piglets. But we all know that it's really turkey. What else can they do with what people don't eat at Christmas?

            1. Anonymous Coward

              Re: Re:cavemen?

              "Also, we've heard all that crap about Quorn being made of mushrooms and the tears of rescued piglets. But we all know that it's really turkey."

              Mushrooms? Turkey? Soil fungus glued together with egg albumen, which sounds rather unappealing, but works OK as a low fat filler and protein in recipes with a strong flavour from other ingredients. Not sure why I should eat it again, though? No lower in fat than chicken or turkey, not noticeably cheaper, and I've no idea what resources are used to make it (other than eggs).

              I'll ponder on that over my 300 calorie butter bean and bacon soup that counts as tea today.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Re:cavemen?

              "It has been scientifically proved that people who don't eat bacon have a mortality rate of 100%!"

              Exactly. When will these poltroons learn that death is never prevented, it is at best postponed.

          3. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

            Re: Re:cavemen?

            My archaeologist wife is frothing at the mouth

            Sorry, you can't blame bacon for that. Rabies, maybe, but not bacon.

          4. Turtle

            Re: Re:cavemen?

            As they say, if you want to live to be 100, you have to give up all things that would make you *want* to live to be 100.

          5. Martin Budden Bronze badge

            Re: Re:cavemen?

            > Vegetarian diet may lead to a 32% reduction in heart disease, but also a 32% reduction in happiness.

            Bullshit. When I became vegetarian I very quickly noticed an improvement in my energy levels and general health, with a corresponding improvement in happiness. Most vegetarians will tell you the same thing. Instead of taking easy swipes at vegetarians why don't you find out for yourself by giving it a try.

            1. pixl97

              Re: Martin Budden

              It's very rare that someone 'just' becomes a vegetarian.

              Most likely you also had other significant life changes at the time. Increased exercise being one of the most common changes. Also changes in diet tend to happen in a recovery stage of depression that the person was not aware of. Lastly it also depends on how terrible of diet a person had before, if they were eating 5 pounds of beef and no fibre, then yea the difference will be significant. If the person was eating a relatively balanced diet, then it is unlikely they can tell any difference unless they have a medical condition.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              show me a herbivore at the top of the food chain.

              @ Martin Brudden. It was probably poor phrasing. I believe it should have read that a vegetarian diet leads to a 32% reduction in other people's happiness cause by the 100% reduction in the vegetarian's sense of humour.

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @Martin Budden

              Oh how easy is it getting people to bite, maybe there's a bit of a meat eater in you after all.

              I put the predictable vegetarian statement in there to weed out the outraged badge wearing hippy types, as a vegetarian I don't feel the need to ram my opinions down peoples throats, unless of course I wrap my opinions in bacon first and then I find people totally love my opinions.

              How can you have a 32% reduction in happiness? You are either happy or not happy, maybe the lack of meat and a poor substituted diet has addled your brain.

            4. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

              Re: Re:cavemen? @ Matin Budden

              I have tried vegetarian diet twice in my life, for about two years each time. Despite following all the guidelines to ensure no lack of key nutrients, both times I was lethargic, bad-tempered, unable to think properly, and constantly hungry despite cramming loads of food in (far more than I would on a meat diet). There was a noticeable improvement on the days I had e.g. a bacon buttie when going on a rally.

              I know a datum of one isn't anything, but it does tend to suggest that your "all vegetarians are super-healthy and it is the only way forward for everyone" is - shall we say "hyperbolic"?

            5. Nuke
              Thumb Down

              @Martin Budden - Re: Re:cavemen?

              Wrote :- "When I became vegetarian I very quickly noticed an improvement in my energy levels and general health"

              Maybe the kind of person who is relatively inactive and overweight (your case?) might benefit in this way. However, if you are already active and healthy, cutting out meat is likely to be detrimental. An active vegetarian guy I once worked with looked like a skeleton. He was slowly killing himself. We joked that he walked two paces before his clothes started to move with him.

              I am very active. I have an acre of garden to maintain for a start, then I do all my car and house maintenance. I have just replaced a WC for example. I eat loads of red meat, yet I am currently losing weight a bit (following Xmas feasts) and have been told at my annual work medical that I am the healthiest guy on their books. The only thing wrong with my energy level is that there are not enough hours in the day to expend it all.

        2. Geoff Campbell

          Re: "I'm pretty sure"...

          ...said no scientist, ever.

          Personally incredulity is no basis for scientific discussion.


        3. fixit_f

          Re: Why is bacon "processed"?


          Yep, agree it's a complex subject, the main point I was making but didn't spell out (preferring instead to make snarky comments, sorry LOL) was that these guys for all sorts of reasons never got old enough to be troubled much by diseases like cancer. So they're probably not an ideal control group to compare us against!

    4. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: Why is bacon "processed"?

      Absolute ballcocks. Bacon is pork that has been cured \ corned by submerging it in a brine which typically consist of a combination of sodium chloride and either sodium nitrite or sodium nitrate. The latter two can be an issue if eaten in significant amounts.

      Second to that is a link (although only statistical, even though it has been studied no mechanism has yet been identified, the study was by Caldwell Esselstyn) between meat protein and an increase in cancer.

      Current evidence does seem to suggest that higher consumption of meat protein (any meat or dairy product) and\or consuming processed foods (containing preservatives) increases your risk of certain health problems.

      Having said that I know plenty of farmers in their 80's and 90's who eat a shedload of meat and are fit and healthy. Then again they still work 14 hour days and aren't warming a desk. I don't think it's a clear cut eat bacon and die at 30, I think it's just increasing the risk. Some folks can smoke their entire life and not catch cancer. Plenty more people do get cancer from smoking.

      I don't think we need to go crazy and only nibble on grass, but it might be prudent to moderate the quantity of certain foods we eat and most definately improve the quality of many of them (i.e. traditionally smoked bacon rather than chemically smoked, organic eggs and milk etc).

  2. Anonymous Coward


    Research suggests that 90% of all El Reg readers who eat Bacon will die within the next 80 years.

    1. I think so I am?

      Re: Death

      In other research conducted : its is found that almost all living things have a 100% mortality rate!

      the exception are: Jelly fish and some weird worm thing which have been found to be biologically immortal.

      In other research jumping off cliffs has a high % of causing death especially cliffs with no water below

      1. Silverburn

        Re: Death

        and some weird worm thing which have been found to be politically biologically immortal

        Peter Mandelson?

        1. sandman

          Re: Death

          How dare you insult weird worm things with your odious comparison!

    2. Ralph B

      Re: Death

      > Research suggests that 90% of all El Reg readers who eat Bacon will die within the next 80 years.

      A timely warning: I'll stop reading The Reg immediately.

      Meanwhile, I'll give up my bacon sarny when you pry it from my cold, dead hands

      1. Vic

        Re: Death

        > I'll give up my bacon sarny when you pry it from my cold, dead hands

        Next week, huh? Might still be edible...


    3. Hungry Sean

      Re: Death

      entirely too correct-- the authors claim that 3% of deaths could have been prevented by reduced consumption of processed meat, but I'm pretty sure the correct figure is exactly 0%. Postponed maybe, but then what is the point of life without bacon, ham, and sausage?

      1. Euripides Pants Silver badge

        Re: Death

        "what is the point of life without bacon, ham, and sausage?"

        Less time eating those leaves you with more time for radio-controlled monster trucks. Maybe?

      2. MJI Silver badge

        Re: Death

        Bacon Ham Sausage

        I am unusual in not liking bacon or ham and only liking butcher sausages and hot dog ones.

        Just remembering the nice ones they did last year, stilton ones were nice - worked well with the pork

  3. Huw D Silver badge


    I would rather die happy with a bacon sarnie in my hands than die miserable without one.

    1. lglethal Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Right.

      Amen to that!!!

    2. Chris Miller

      Re: Right.

      As a wise man remarked: "There is no human pleasure worth sacrificing for the sake of an extra four years in a nursing home".

      1. Brian Morrison

        Re: Right.

        Kingsley Amis, I believe he mentioned Weston-super-Mare as being the location of said nursing home.

        Too bloody right, bollocks to long life, my plan is to expire just when the government steals my pension fund from me.

    3. Tequila Joe

      Re: Right.

      Quote - "I would rather die happy with a bacon sarnie in my hands than die miserable without one."

      [Braveheart accent]

      They'll never take our fried ham*.

      *Yeah, ok, I know - technically (and possibly politically) incorrect.

    4. Lamont Cranston

      Re: Right.

      I'd rather die happy with a younger woman in my arms. Each to their own.

  4. SuperTim


    I fear I am fading... If only I had switched to *government approved meat replacement product* I could have lived a fuller taxpaying life! Curse you, Piggies, for being so tasty and tempting with brown sauce (not red - blech!)

    1. Captain Hogwash Silver badge

      Re: Noooooo!

      *government approved meat replacement product* is peop... er, horses.

      1. The Axe

        Re: Noooooo!

        Soylent Green is government approved meat replacement.

      2. SuperTim

        Re: Noooooo!

        Are you the MP for Soylent Green?

    2. JayBizzle

      Re: Noooooo!

      I think it is a statistical fact that you will die younger if you use brown sauce.

      1. SuperTim

        Re: Noooooo!

        Maybe, but I tend to think of ketchup as an "American replacement saliva" as their kids don't appear to be able to swallow anything without smothering it in sweet red sauce. I actually quite like Blair's Megadeath on my bacon, but thought that may ruffle a few feathers.

        Beer, to quench my thirst afterwards.

        1. Michael Shelby

          Re: Noooooo!

          Here in the US, kids smother everything in ketchup. As they become adults, they smother everything in ranch dressing. Might explain why the rest of the world thinks we have no taste.

        2. Anonymous Coward

          Re: Noooooo!

          "I actually quite like Blair's Megadeath on my bacon, "

          Try Danger Dave's Gourmet Insanity sauce, now that will get your tastebuds on the move.

          Bizarrely enough Tesco briefly stocked it, but they've since retreated to boring stuff like tabasco, so it's weird deli-shops or mail order only.

          1. SuperTim

            Re: Noooooo!

            I have a bottle of Dave's special reserve. Too expensive for bacon and just for special occasions. Blairs is cheap and hotter than regular insanity (which is now not hot enough for me)

          2. Oninoshiko

            Re: Noooooo!

            Do they put the tabasco where it belongs? (which is to say, with the other vinegars?)

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Thumb Up

            Re: Noooooo!

            Thumbs up for Dave's Insanity. I have it on almost everything savoury I eat. The Naga Jolokia version is even hotter than the normal one. I also feel your "Tesco pain". ASDA have also stopped stocking it. I suspect some namby-pamby nanny-statey do-goodery is afoot. Will have to source an alternative supplier soon. I'm down to the last six bottles in my 'Apocalypse Stash'

            1. jake Silver badge

              Missing from Tesco/ASDA? Make it yourself! It's easy! (was: Re: Noooooo!)

              Take about a cup of good cider vinegar, put it in a blender with a dozen or so ripe Habeneros (seeds & all), a teaspoon of sea salt (not that nasty, metallic tasting, iodine-infused "table salt"), and about a tablespoon each of honey & turbinado/demerara sugar (muscovado or piloncillo also work, if you can find 'em). A tablespoon of chipotle powder and/or smoked cumin powder adds a nice smoky note, but isn't required. Blend well. Add a little more vinegar, or another habanero or two, if needed, to get a Tabasco-ish consistency. It's usable immediately, but bottle it & stick it in the back of your fridge for a couple months and it just gets better ... A turkey baster with the plastic bit from an eye-dropper stuck on the end works well for re-filling old Tabasco[tm] bottles.

              Lovely stuff. Tastes of mango, banana, pineapple, a hint of apple, coconut & vanilla ... Is it hot? Yes! But it also tastes good ... if you can get past the heat. Doubles as pepper-spray. Do not get this on any mucous membranes, above the mustache or below the belt. Unless you're into that kinda thing, of course ;-)

              Substitute the fresh chili(s) of your choice, vinegar of your choice, dried chili(s) of your choice, sweeteners (or none!), herbs (fresh & dried) etc. It's cheap, easy, tasty, healthy, keeps for years in the fridge, and no actual cooking required.

              OR you can put an end to the DSWs over heat & simply purchase a gallon of pure capsaicin and bottle it. Instant "world's hottest hot sauce". Tastes like crap, though.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Noooooo!

              "I'm down to the last six bottles in my 'Apocalypse Stash'"

              I'm sure we can more imported from the land of the free. So don't keep that stash to yourself - always a joy to share a proper hot sauce with somebody who hasn't sampled such delights before, and watch as their face changes colour.

        3. Tequila Joe

          Re: Noooooo!

          Blair's Megadeath

          I had never heard of this before. Thank you for sorting out my contibution towards what should be a festive feisty Christmas lunch.

          1. perlcat

            Re: Noooooo!

            While you're plugging different foods, in the States, R. M. Felts out of Ivor, VA makes traditionally cured bacon and ham. Cured to being shelf-stable, no fridge needed. They ship, too.

            Very tasty. Just need some beer to go with your bacon sarny, and meat's back on the menu, boys!

  5. WeaselNo7

    Hang on...

    I think everyone's leaping to conclusions here. With good reason, because it's intuitively true. However...

    What if being at risk of cardiovascular disease means that people are more drawn to processed/salty meats? Some kind of genetic mutation that kills you slowly but makes you crave meat and alcohol. Or a parasite p'raps.

    Causation, blah blah. You feel me?

    1. Gerard Krupa

      Re: Hang on...

      Yes I noticed several places in the article where statistician was accidentally spelled like scientist.

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Hang on...

      Some kind of genetic mutation that kills you slowly but makes you crave meat and alcohol. Or a parasite p'raps.

      Funny, I've got this terrible parasite in my head that makes me crave cake, bacon, sweets, beer, single malt whisky, chocolate, steak & kidney pudding, cheese, eggs, ham... And that's just for lunch!

      I think it's called a brain, or a tongue or something, and it wobbles about in my head demanding more yummyness.

  6. Longrod_von_Hugendong

    Ok, lets get this clear for people...

    There are only 3 certain things....

    1) Death

    2) Taxes

    3) M$ products are crap.*

    You are not going to get out of this life alive, so go and enjoy yourself.

    * Added to try to make it a bit about computers.

    1. perlcat

      Re: Ok, lets get this clear for people...

      You don't need to add anything about computers; the conversation's about BACON!!!

    2. NumptyScrub

      Re: Ok, lets get this clear for people...

      You are Eadon and I claim my £5 :P

      I'm going to spend it on smoked back bacon :)

  7. g e

    In other news

    People who ate more 'processed' meats also smoked, drank too much and took negligible exercise but we're having an anti-meat day today so we'll leave that out.

    1. deshepherd

      Re: In other news

      Except in the discussion on this on the R4 Today program then the figure 3% of deaths that "could be prevented" (I think they mean delayed!) was after taking into account other factors. Another point was that his research was done on European sample groups so wasn't skewed by the much larger meat consumption of people in the USA. However, seemed that sample didn't have enough data to make any comment on processed (i.e. smoked) fish such as kippers!

  8. ISYS

    Decisions decisions

    Do I

    a. Eat bacon sarnies, kebabs, steaks and drink beer, wine and spirits then go out with a bang early with smile on my face knowing I have lived my life to the full.


    b. Eat nuts and berries and drink spring water and live until I am 100 after having suffered dementia for the last 20 years of my life until one day the staff at the home find me dead in a puddle of my own piss.

    1. Gerard Krupa

      Re: Decisions decisions

      If it's B then I'd suggest you eat plenty of cranberries so you can make a nice big puddle.

    2. Measurer

      Re: Decisions decisions

      ...and Asparagus, so it smells funny (or is it artichoke?).

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Decisions decisions


        But it looked like beer!

    3. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Decisions decisions

      I recommend you pick B. That way there'll be more bacon left over for me!

      I have no plans to retire. Bacon and beer are my alternatives to a pension. Much cheaper that way. Can I claim the tax back on them, as eating them is a charitable endeavour. Saving the weak-willed from temptation?

      I am strong-willed. I like bacon.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Decisions decisions

        "Bacon and beer are my alternatives to a pension"

        Doesn't matter what you want. The health fascists have all but exterminated fags. Alcohol will be next (eg Dave the Feckless' plans for a minimum alcohol price etc), and after that they'll set about fatty foods, and processed meat.

        The only way forward may be a civil war. It's been a while since we've had one, so it would serve to clear the air on a lot of issues.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Decisions decisions

          "The only way forward may be a civil war. It's been a while since we've had one, so it would serve to clear the air on a lot of issues."

          Agreed. Vive la révolution!

  9. D@v3

    New study shows...

    100% of people who eat (red/white/processed/no) meat die....*


    Better go and panic buy me some bacon for the weekend.

  10. simlb

    ...and 'other causes of death'

    Does that also include plane crashes and DIY accidents involving power tools?

  11. reno79

    They may take our lives... but they'll never take our bacon!

  12. Evil Auditor Silver badge

    I did a study. Prepare for the staggering results. Ready?

    Life is deadly.

    1. Lexxy

      Re: I did a study. Prepare for the staggering results. Ready?

      I blame the parents.

  13. The Axe

    Low quality science as well as meat can kill

    Low quality science as well as meat can kill. Ignore the report. It's the usual attempt to make some science out of nothing to up someone's published article count and then used by a dumb and stupid MSM to make scary headlines which is the usual attempt to up the reader count on their websites.

  14. JimmyPage Silver badge

    Just remember the old joke:

    Doctor: I'm afraid you've only got 3 months to live

    Patient: My god, is there anything I can do ?

    Doctor: Yes. Give up drinking. Sex. Red meat. Cigarettes. Sex. Television, Chocolate and Crisps.

    Patient: Will I live longer ?

    Doctor: No, but it'll feel like it.

  15. John Colman

    In homage to those across the pond

    With all of the research into the negative effects of processed meat, it will not be long before our government tries to pass harmful legislature to interfere with my right to eat what I want. We must take a stand now, or we will lose this freedom. Once we lose the right to eat bacon, they'll be coming after our right to eat cake and eventually our right to drink fizzy drinks.

    If I cannot eat bacon, I cannot make my family happy. We will not be protected from the smugness of those who eat bacon illegally. We will be at risk of seeing calm and collected, level headed immigrants with their bacon cravings satisfied, taking all of our jobs. We will see a sharp increase in violent crime as people go to extremes to fund their black market bacon purchases.

    No, we must protect our freedoms. Join the NRA (National Rasher Association) and we can make a stand against our nanny state government. Because bacon doesn't kill people, people (chefs) kill people!

    1. Corinne

      Re: In homage to those across the pond

      "..and eventually our right to drink fizzy drinks."

      Too late! They are already demanding massive tax premiums on fizzy drinks due to the sugar content. Pity for those of us who are aspartame intollerant....

      1. Havin_it

        Aspartame intolerance

        Is that a real thing? I can't bloody stand the taste of the stuff, does that count?

        What gets me is that even many drinks that do contain a lot of sugar use aspartame (and its mate acesulfame K) as well!

        Mmm, sugary fizzy drinks (pictured)

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: In homage to those across the pond

      Never visit New York City, then.

  16. Ben Rosenthal

    giving up bacon IS death! You've got to go from something!

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's the point of living longer if you can't enjoy it?

  18. Badvok
    Thumb Up

    I like the sound of this bit: "After correction for measurement error, higher all-cause mortality remained significant only for processed meat."

    So while Bacon is bad, Steak is OK :D I'd rather a nice T-Bone than a rasher any day.

  19. WonkoTheSane Silver badge

    Follow the Funding...

    I suspect it will lead to the Vegetarian Society.

  20. moiety

    "If death comes near me, I'll rip his tits off". According to that article, I shouldn't have made it to the end of the article.

  21. Spoonsinger

    Re :- So while Bacon is bad, Steak is OK :D I'd rather a nice T-Bone than a rasher any day.

    Wouldn't we all, but for breakfast :-

    (Price from random website)

    T-Bone Steak 12oz - Sale price - £9.10, (plus you need to add fries and fried onions)

    Black Farmer, (ok not great), but £2.55 for 8 rashers plus you need to add four slices of bread.

    One of these isn't good for a quick early morning feast. The other is great for supper.

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: Re :- So while Bacon is bad, Steak is OK :D I'd rather a nice T-Bone than a rasher any day.

      You haven't been able to buy black farmers here in the U.S. since the 19th century.

  22. Brent Longborough
    Paris Hilton

    Just like olden tymes...

    I have a suspicion this is something left over and adapted from the middle ages.

    Do you remember when the parson used to tell us "you mustn't enjoy sex, it's bad for you, it's only for making babies"?

    Just that now they're doing it for food.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just like olden tymes...

      Do you remember when the parson used to tell us "you mustn't enjoy sex, it's bad for you, it's only for making babies"? Just that now they're doing it for food.

      There is NO way my bacon is going to go anywhere near a place where it could make babies.

      There is not enough alcohol in the world to make me.


      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Just like olden tymes...

        My proto-bacon makes babies regularly. But then I raise pigs ;-)

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Perhaps the Muslims got it right all along.

    Pig and its meat is taboo, to be avoided at all costs.

    More so when processed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Many a true word ...

      There are rumblings of research which hint that eating pig is not the best thing for humans, since due to our genetic similarities (possibly due to pigs being omnivores) pigs can play host to a lot of nasty nasty things that are bad for humans. Unlike cows or sheep. It's posited as a possible factor in the low incidences of MS in the Muslim world

    2. Gordon 11

      Perhaps the Muslims got it right all along.

      I think you'll find that they just copied the Jews, who had already been not doing it for centuries.

      (Obviously the Apple in the Garden of Eden wasn't the sort that puts a patent on all processes.)

      1. Steve Knox

        Perhaps the Muslims got it right all along.

        I think you'll find that they just copied the Jews, who had already been not doing it for centuries.

        (Obviously the Apple in the Garden of Eden wasn't the sort that puts a patent on all processes.)

        I'm not so sure. Those two groups have been fighting over intellectual property for quite some time now...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          But theres tons of Pork sausages and other pig stuff available in Tel Aviv. (Maye be to cater to the Russian Jews, who have no qualms about pork meat).

          So you probably refer to the Orthodox ones.

          But surely, there must be a good reason for both these clans to avoid (scientific or otherwise).

          Ive also read about our genes being 99 % similar, hence , cannibalistic by nature and therefore not suitable?

        2. jake Silver badge

          @Steve Knox

          Fighting over intellectual property? Are you sure? Post proof or retract.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Anyone got figures for average life expectancy of Muslims and Jews, then?

      1. Heathroi

        it depends on the proximity of one group to the other.

    4. pixl97


      >More so when processed.

      In historical terms, less so when processed. Pig is a very risky item to eat when you don't have proper cooking and cleaning available. Trichinosis is bad stuff.

      Nitrates and high levels of sodium are not healthy, but I'm sure that counts for any product that has them.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Live some extra years, or bacon.

    That's not even a choice.

  25. Chris Hawkins

    ...and now I must warn about the the Danger or drinking Water

    As a follow-up to this announcement, I think only fair to warn and remind Hon. El Reg readers of the dangers of drinking WATER!

    Approximately 99.999999999999999999999999% (allowing for statistical error) percent of humans expire owing to old age!

    Approximately 99.999999999999999999999999% (allowing for statistical error) percent of humans drink water, in some form, throughout their lives!

    Does it require penguin logic not to rationally assume that Pure Old H20 is in someway responsible for their demise??

    I rest my case

    <Thinks> Right! Off to the kitchen for a bacon sarmy!</thinks>

    1. Bodestone

      Re: ...and now I must warn about the the Danger or drinking Water

      Of course. Water, being a fundamental requirement for life in the first place is therefore a fundamental cause of death since without life there can be no death. QED.

      Right, I'm off to find a zebra crossing.

      1. Chris Hawkins

        Re: ...and now I must warn about the the Danger or drinking Water

        "....Right, I'm off to find a zebra crossing...."

        Did you find it?.....

    2. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Re: ...and now I must warn about the the Danger or drinking Water

      Ah, the old dihydrogen monoxide story.

      The old ones are the best.

  26. Thomas 4

    Big frigging deal

    Plenty of folks are, right at this very moment, working themselves to death but you don't see anyone saying "Maybe we should be on holiday or something"...

  27. David Beeston

    Er, are you sure

    The upshot of all this is that "3.3 per cent of deaths could be prevented if all participants had a processed meat consumption of less than 20g per day".

    Are you sure, surely those deaths are simply delayed? They are going to happen at some point ;)

  28. Bodestone

    Arnold's Addendum

    Pardo's First Postulate:

    Anything good in life is either illegal, immoral, or fattening.

    Arnold's Addendum:

    Everything else causes cancer in rats.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    shh , be vewwy quiet, we're hunting poultwy...

    Pfft. In the first place, they think rabbits are poultry.

    In the second place, they didn't employ a chemist to assist with their chuddy cohort study. A chemist could've told them about Baconium, an essential element for meaningful human life, which is only found in bacon.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    What do you call bacon withdrawal symptoms? Already evident.

    Sounds like a clinical nighmare waiting to happen, judging by the numbers on here in denial.

    Might start hoarding pigs. (Pig Story , anyone?)/

  31. BigNoo

    To quote Rumpole of the Bailey - "Is it worth it to gain another 5 years in the geriatric ward ! "

    Live life !

  32. JohnMurray

    I remain unconvinced.

    Is life without bacon life at all ?

    Philosophising leads to a lower lifespan !

    "This EPIC (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition) study involved ten countries and 23 centres in Europe and almost half a million people. In general a diet high in processed meat was linked to other unhealthy choices. Men and women who ate the most processed meat ate the fewest fruit and vegetables and were more likely to smoke. Men who ate a lot of meat also tended to have a high alcohol consumption.

    A person’s risk of premature death (increased risk of all cause mortality) increased with the amount of processed meat eaten. This is also true after correcting for confounding variables, although residual confounding cannot be excluded. However, a small amount of red meat appeared to be beneficial which the researchers suggest is because meat is an important source of nutrients and vitamins"

    1. Werner McGoole

      So how does bacon kill you, exactly?

      I can't help wondering about the correlation with "all cause" mortality. Did they not have cause of death information? Could it be that bacon affects your reaction time and gets you killed in car accidents, or perhaps sausages weigh you down and make you more likely to drown?

      If they did have cause of death information, then why not look at the diseases that all the commentators have immediately assumed are caused by the great bacon threat, like heart disease and cancer? It makes me think that perhaps the correlation disappears if you do that. They'd then have wasted their time because no-one is going to take seriously a paper that proposes a sausage-drowning theory.

      It all looks very suspicious to me.

  33. Tony Green

    Hardly news

    It's been well-known for years that people who eat stuff like bacon, sausages, etc. have greatly-increased cancer rates compared to people who don't.

    I seem to remember the main problem was the large amount of nitrates pumped into the meat.

    1. pixl97

      Re: Hardly news

      Nitrates in large amounts aren't good for a person. Of course some of these people at a diet of 50% meat (crazy) which puts them at risks from ...

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If the government bans bacon ( for health reasons - of course ), I can foresee the following:

    Riots all over the UK

    Wife bashings for lack of bacon, consequential divorces (more) at breakfast times and others

    NHS running a surplus (beneficial effects of non-pork diets) & health secretary being Knighted.

    Mass migration away from the UK.

    Illegal smuggling of pork meat. (might lift us out of recession - as a whole new industry)

    Breakdown of Social order and 3rd World war over pigs (scarce resources).

    All of the above.

  35. Lis 0r


    Tell Henrietta Lacks that death is inevitable!

  36. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Hmm... everyone eventually dies. To say "X number of deaths can be prevented" is a false hope of immortality. Bring me my bacon. Bring me my beer. I'm doomed, I know it, and I'm going to enjoy the trip.

  37. Kevin Johnston

    Cause of death?

    I was under the impression that I was going to die because of a midwife. It has been proven beyond reasonable doubt that everyone who is born eventually dies.

    Well, except for Highlander

    and the cast of Methusela's Children

    but apart from that....

  38. 404 Silver badge
    Black Helicopters


    This is all about the bacon shortage and THEM keeping all the bacon to themselves!

    Sneaky bastiches...


  39. JimmyPage Silver badge

    Enjoying the way people have picked up on the "live healthy" fallacy

    EVERYONE has to die of SOMETHING ! A fact some people just don't get. Including doctors.

    It's a shame that stories like this don't prompt a wider debate on the desirability of living longer. Or indeed some far-sighted research into a theoretical maximum human lifespan, taking into account the reduced resources available for new lives being ever-consumed by the ageing population.

    Somehow I suspect living forever and evolution are mutually exclusive.

  40. frank ly

    Don't Panic! There is a way out of this

    I've heard that the bad effects of a bacon sarnie can be counteracted by accompanying it with a cup of tea. But, the tea has to be made in just the right particular way. I'm not sure what that way is. Any advice?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. bugalugs

      elReg readers say this about


  41. Captain DaFt

    One word:


    It's all just more scaremongering to frighten people into behaving the way they think you should.

    There is one website out there (I'm not going to dignify it with a link) that has a calculator to show you how many years your life has been shortened by eating bacon. (according to them, each slice of bacon takes two minutes off of your life.)

    I ran the calculations, guaging my bacon consumption as accurately as possible, and the result was that I died in 1989!

    So, either it's bullshit, or as someone in another forum put it, I'm a bacon zombie!

  42. We're all in it together
    Thumb Up

    Notice of emergency meeting

    To be held at the usual cafe over the usual breakfast which for me will be a doorstop sandwich with bacon and mushrooms covered in a generous layer of brown sauce.

    Should I ever get to the ripe old age of my Dad (currently 89) I will no doubt have no NHS left to leave me on a trolley in some corridor to be forgotten about to die, my pension will be worthless, and I'll have to leave the kids with no inheritance, or it'll be taxed to oblivion.

    So me thinks I may have two doorstops tomorrow. Then I can go out with a bang at a much younger age.


  43. Fink-Nottle

    Red meat?

    That's OK ... the bacon in my fridge is a greeny-blue colour.

  44. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    This is terrifying!

    I'm so scared that I feel the need for some 'comfort' eating.

    I think I'll make it a bacon sarnie, with an especial helping of dripping.

  45. JP19

    Tastes nice and is cheap

    Tastes nice and is cheap so it must be bad for you.

    Given it must be bad for you we are justified in concluding it is regardless of our research not supporting that conclusion in any meaningful way.

    Our conclusions will be widely publicised by the media without question. Don't know why we bothered to do any research in the first place....

  46. All names Taken

    I feel sorry for you young things.

    Gone are the days of leathery eggs that could be used to sole shoes and in are the days of egg pulp that finds it difficult not to slither through the prongs of a fork.

    I could go on

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Whilst not wishing to go earlier than needed, I think I'd rather enjoy a slightly shorter life than endure a longer one.

  48. meanioni


    Science is a bit suspect as there is no causal link given between red meat and early death. Also they admitted that people who eat a lot of red meat smoke and drink more and eat less vegetables.... so are basically more likely to be unhealthy.

    In other word, people who are more likely to be unhealthy die earlier - what a shocker! :-O

    I bet if they ran a study on how many of the men wore Y-fronts they could find a similar link - yep wearing Y-fronts reduces your lifespan.....

    The funding for this study (the red meat one, not y-fronts) is from a basket of funders (number of government departments, some trusts but a lot of heart and cancer charities). So this also raises a question as they all have a vested interest in this coming out bad....

  49. FanniM

    Everything in moderation! Easy to say, hard to do.

  50. Don Jefe


    My Grandfather died (of heart failure) at the age of 88. He was drinking his fifth or sixth (daily) "after work" bourbon and had just opened his third pack of smokes for the day. This was in his library after finishing his dinner of mashed taters, bacon and beef stew.

    I only hope I can do something similar.

  51. JohnMurray

  52. C. P. Cosgrove

    That tears it !

    Oh dear !

    Two bacon sarnies this morning, with brown sauce, washed down with a mug of black tea. Unhappily, from that excellent cafe at Penrith ( England ), not the champion cafe between Perth and Dundee.

    A pint of Fuller's 'London Pride' this evening, and currently working on a medium dry martini.

    It would seem I am not long for this World. I can only reassure myself with Groucho Marx's belief - 'No man goes before his time'

    Chris Cosgrove

  53. Rentaguru


    Beyond doubt the number of suicides from a baconless life is far in excess of the deaths from bacon.

  54. JohnG

    Other factors?

    "Other enlightening facts to emerge from the survey were that "men and women in the top categories of red or processed meat intake in general consumed fewer fruits and vegetables than those with low intake", and were "likely to be current smokers and less likely to have a university degree"."

    Are we therefore to understand that the analysis of the survey did not take account of other factors that might affect life expectancy? One might expect that wealthier people are eating less processed meat and probably enjoy healthier diets and lifestyles than their poorer counterparts. People with the least money are quite likely to be eating the cheapest processed meat products.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    > Reg readers are invited to confirm the truth of another finding, which states: "Men with high red meat consumption consumed more alcohol than men with a low consumption"

    I never eat any red meat and I drink several beers every evening. What does that tell you about the reliability of the survey's findings?

  56. Esskay

    Did Findus fund this report?

    Just waiting for the new line of "Horcon" meat products.

  57. Jtom

    Why these studies are to be ignored

    "The upshot of all this is that '3.3 per cent of deaths could be prevented if all participants had a processed meat consumption of less than 20g per day.'"

    No, deaths are not prevented. At best they are merely postponed, unless they are claiming this is the way to immortality. So before we can make a rational decision about our lifestyle, we need to know just HOW LONG giving up such pleasures as eating red meat, bacon, etc. will extend our lives. I for one don't want to give up everything that makes life enjoyable to avoid a heart attack only to die from liver failure an hour later.

    So, researchers, since I don't smoke, am not overweight, don't drink more that two drinks a day, take no drugs (legal or otherwise), have low blood pressure, and am in excellent health at age 63 (despite having enjoyed red and processed meats in my diet), just how much longer would I live if I gave up meat? I bet the answer is in terms of hours, not even days or weeks.

    One more question for the researchers: have THEY given up red meat and processed meat? Didn't think so. So stop trying to drum up more research money by worrying all of us. Get a real job.

  58. jake Silver badge

    Fatal flaw in study: "body mass index".

    BMI is one of the worst-of-the-worst pseudo-science "health" thingies. Anyone who uses the phrase can almost always be safely ignored. Consider that Arnold "da Governator" Schwarzenegger's "Terminator" body was (according to BMI) "Obese". Personally, I am about 5'11", and weigh about 15 stone. My body fat percentage hovers just under 4%. According to the BMI, I am obese with a BMI of just about 30 ... In reality, I am quite fit & healthy. I think nothing of spending an afternoon with my hooks, re-stacking the set-of-joints load of Alfalfa that was delivered into the wrong location. My field hands laugh at me, because I actually enjoy the exercise afforded by re-stacking hay bales :-)

    During the meanwhile, I'll continue growing, slaughtering, cooking, curing, smoking & eating all things pork.

  59. ZanzibarRastapopulous


    Any particular processes? There are rather a lot used in the preparation of various meat products....

  60. We're all in it together

    Heres another headline

    The coalition is bad for your health and wealth.

    No think tanks, government departments, or spin doctors were used in the making of this report. Your call is important to us. You are held in a media bombardment of utter drivel. Please hold

  61. Jim 59

    Cause <=> Effect ?

    Could it be that very fat people tend to eat more bacon, and have a higher mortality rate for many reasons, among them the consumption of unhealthy foods, regular alcohol, lack of exercise, vitamin deficiency, tendency to diabetes, heart disease, allergies, internal organ damage, joint wear etc etc ? Isn't the report just stating the obvious, ie. some people care more about their health and some less, and bad habits will cluster round the latter group ?

    How did they know the diets of the 26,344 deceased ? "Data" on the living was collected by survey - does that count as empirical measurement these days ? We all know people underestimate their calorie and alcohol intake, because it was in a recent survey, and...

  62. All names Taken

    Don't vegetarians fart more?

    I mean, have you ever seen a thin cow?

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