A cheeseburger with smoked bacon. (Julie Wan for The Washington Post)

If you've been feeling guilty for sneaking bites of bacon at breakfast or letting your kids grab hot dogs after soccer practice this week even after reading the World Health Organization's warning about cancer risks, you can take comfort in the fact that you're not alone.

[Hot dogs, bacon and other processed meats cause cancer, World Health Organization declares]

Since the WHO's research arm declared processed meats a carcinogen on Monday (and said red meat is probably one, too), all manner of individuals and groups — from ordinary citizens to celebrities and government officials — have come out in defense of hamburgers, salami, prosciutto, cold cuts and other beloved meats.

Some are even nutritionists.

Marion Nestle, the renowned New York University professor and author of "Food Politics," said in an interview that she'll still continue to enjoy the occasional BLT as well as the hamburger sliders she sometimes samples at cocktail parties. Nestle explained that those who eat a lot of meat should cut down but those who don't needn't panic that a single bite of meat will give them cancer.

The bottom line as she wrote on her blog: "Don't eat meat everyday, save processed meats for rare treats and be sure to eat plenty of vegetables."

Likewise Germany's agriculture minister tried to calm the panic by telling his countrymen that they could still enjoy their national foods. "No one should be afraid if they eat a bratwurst every now and then," Christian Schmidt told Reuters. "People are being wrongly unsettled when eating meat is put on the same level as asbestos or tobacco."

"The Meatocalypse has arrived!" Stephen Colbert, "The Late Show" host, declared.

"This is sad, so sad," Colbert said. "I live for meat. This is true: I have a two-pound slab of bacon in my fridge at all times. I've got to. I'm the father of two teenage boys. The only way I can get them out of bed in the morning is to fry up some bacon... That smell — you get that stuff sizzling on the pan it makes them float down to the kitchen... You think they're going to come running down the stairs to the scent of me washing kale? "

On Twitter, the debate about the WHO announcement was intense as the #smugvegetarian exchanged sometimes playful, sometimes hostile barbs with those who stand for #JeSuisBacon, #Bacongeddon and #freebacon.

Read more:

Cutting sugar from kids’ diets appears to have a beneficial effect in just 10 days

Sleep study on modern-day hunter-gatherers dispels notion that we're wired to need 8 hours

WHO says hot dogs, bacon cause cancer. Does this mean we should all be vegetarians?

There are roughly 480 other things the WHO says might cause cancer.

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