HK Magazine Archive

Meat Me in the Middle: Is Hong Kong Doomed for Cancer?

The World Health Organization released a report this week that said processed meats are pretty bad for you. Chances for colorectal cancer rise by 18 percent for every 50 gram portion eaten daily.

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 October, 2015, 5:52pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 October, 2016, 4:52pm

But here lies the problem: Hongkongers consume a lot of processed meats, from spam to sausage to ham to bacon. Does this mean we're screwed?

Kind of, but not totally.

Dr. Charlene C. Ho, a clinical nutritionist from Hong Kong University's School of Biomedical Sciences, says that if you're just eating that one slice at your cha chaan teng breakfast, you're probably okay.

"Meat should not be the main focus of your meals," says Ho. "If you only eat one slice of spam all day, you're probably fine, but also try to think of alternatives, like switching the sausage for a slice of grilled tomato."

According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, eating red meat is also classified as "probably carcinogenic to humans." That means that the evidence for carcinogenic meat is still inconclusive, but there seems to be enough correlation between colorectal cancer and red meat.

Ho's advice? Moderation.

"It's unnecessary to eat meat for three meals a day," she says. "If you're worried about not getting enough protein, you can always have an egg."

But let's be real—being alive is the real prerequisite for having cancer. So don't worry too much about it: Put that meat in your mouth.