Alarming New Warning About Some of Our Favorite Meats

The World Health Organization is linking burgers, hot dogs, bacon and even lunch meat to cancer.
3:00 | 10/27/15

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Transcript for Alarming New Warning About Some of Our Favorite Meats
Good evening. And it's great to have you here with us on a Monday night. And we begin with the troubling new warning about something that could be on your dinner table tonight. And the type of food many parents pack for school lunches. The world health organization now saying that hot dogs and cold cuts raise the risk of colon cancer and other cancers, as well. And they are now putting hot dogs and bacon, even some lunch maepts in the same risk category as smoking and asbestos. Tonight, they say as little as 50 grams a day can increase your risk. You're about to see how little that is. ABC's linsey Davis leading us off. Reporter: Alarming news tonight about foods so many of us eat every day. Bacon, hot dogs, lunch meat, classified in the same category as cigarettes and asbestos. They can cause cancer, according to the world health organization, and that's not all. The who advisory commit fee tinding that unprocessed red meat is probably cars jennic. The report, which was based on an analysis of more than 800 studies asserts that simply eating 50 grams of processed meat each day can increase the risk of colon cancer by 18%. Here's some food for thought. The 50 grams cited in the report is the equivalent of 1.8 ounces of meat. A typical deli sandwich has more than 4.5 ounces of meat. This is what 1.8 ounces looks like. Keep in mind that according to the report, only 34,000 of all cancer deaths could be attributed to diets high in processed meat. That's out of the 8.2 million deaths caused worldwide by Kan kaenser in 2012, compared to a million deaths a year due to tobacco smoking. The panel did say red meat does have nutritional value. But the meat industry is crying foul. The north American meat institute telling ABC news in a statement that classifying red and processed meat askancer hazards defies common sense. The American cancer society has long recommended that we limit our meat intake and also suggests that you not fry it or grill it on charcoal. David? Let's get right to Richard Besser, because we saw 50 grams there. That is not a lot of meat at all. Reporter: It's not. For an average American, if you are eating two slices of bacon or hot dog a day, that's going to raise your lifetime risk of colon cancer from 5% up to about 6%. It's real, but it's not a very large number. That's a hot dog a day. And you've been telling us all day in the news room that moderation, which you have said, is really the key here. You don't have to give up meat. Reporter: Exactly. Moderation is what it's about. I like the mediterranean diet. But if you are a big meat eater, it's about limiting the amount of processed meat you are eating. Substituting fish or chicken. And when you are cooking your meat, don't grill it. That can release car sin Jens. If you broil it or bake it, that's the way to go. Rich Besser, you'll stay on this. A lot of viewers will have questions after this tonight. Thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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