Bacon, oh bacon: The classic breakfast staple dates back to the Roman Empire, yet somehow it still manages to get trendier by the minute. Not only does it draw adoring crowds to bacon festivals and bacon-themed restaurants, but it's now featured in just about every type of product, including bacon gum!
Bacon doesn’t receive the same fanfare from health experts, though. It’s less popular than ever with nutritionists since the World Health Association deemed processed meat—any type of meat that’s been treated in some way (like salting, curing, or fermentation) for preservation—as a carcinogen, AKA something that causes cancer, in 2015.
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In fact, when 22 experts from 10 countries reviewed more than 800 studies, they found that eating 50 grams of processed meat daily (about four strips of bacon) increases the risk of colon cancer by 18%. Even more, red meat in general may increase risk of colorectal, prostate, and pancreatic cancers. (Here are 10 things cancer experts do to avoid getting the disease.)
Instead, try one of these six bacon alternatives—and keep the rest of your body just as happy as your taste buds.