June 5, 2023

The World Health Organization released a study Oct. 26 that linked the intake of processed meat to an 18 percent increase in cancer risk, but California Baptist University takes measures to ensure students can eat healthy.

While meat does provide positive nutritional values, according to the study, processed meats can be dangerous when consumed in large quantities.

Cristilynn Rood, food safety and nutrition coordinator for CBU, said she carefully reviews every vendor that caters to Provider, especially when it comes to meat. Rood said she makes sure students are receiving high-quality -real meat from local sources.

“CBU has a lower percentage of processed meat compared to other universities,” Rood said.

Cynthia Anderson, assistant professor for the School of Nursing, shared some discrepancies in the study.

She said she does not believe that cancer can stem from the intake of a specific food. It usually develops from consequences of genetics and environmental influences, and there are many cellular changes that must occur before cancer can develop.

“What this means is that eating processed meats alone will not necessarily result in cancer unless combined with a genetic predisposition and/or exposure to multiple other environmental factors,” Anderson said. “You are actually more at risk from developing heart disease from consuming processed meats and red meats on a daily basis than developing cancer based on the relatively small numbers of research subjects who develop colorectal cancer in the (WHO) study.”

The study suggested the reason processed meat can result in cancer is because of the chemicals used in the curing and smoking process. With enough exposure and genetic predisposition, cell division and growth can become irregular.

Anderson said it is a student’s choice to have a healthy diet. Students do not have to give up eating their favorite foods but should eat them in moderation.

“You can’t change your genetics, but you can choose a healthy lifestyle,” Anderson said.

Rood suggested some simple changes students can make on their diet while on campus. When enjoying food from El Monte Grill, students can have chicken over carne asada for a leaner, less processed protein. Chicken and fish are also always provided in the Alumni Dining Commons.

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