Processed meat has been linked to early death, according to a study of half a million people across Europe. The study concluded that diets that are high in processed meats can cause cardiovascular disease, cancer, and early death.
The British Heart Foundation suggested opting for leaner cuts of meat, while the researchers suggested that salt and chemicals used in preservation may damage a person’s health.
Along with an early death, processed meat consumers were also more likely to smoke, be obese, and have other damaging behaviors. Even after those risk factors, however, the processed meat was still responsible for damaging health.
One of every 17 people who participated in the study passed away. Those who ate the equivalent of two sausages and one piece of bacon per day were 44 percent more likely do die over a follow-um time of 12.7 years than those who ate much less processed meat.
Nearly 10,000 people passed away from cancer and 5,500 lots their lives to heart issues. While some critics of the study may suggest that the researchers didn’t account for other risk factors associated with early death, the researchers found that the results held true after taking other risk factors into account.
Professor Sabine Rohrmann led the analysis of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study. Rohrmann explained the researchers “estimate that three percent of premature deaths each year could be prevented if people ate less than 20g processed meat per day.”
Along with processed meats, researchers also discovered that eating a lot of unprocessed red meat resulted in a higher risk of death. But dietitian Dr. Carrie Ruxton from the Meat Advisory Panel says the study shouldn’t keep you from the occasional bacon sandwich. She added, “If you’ve got someone who’s overweight, watching television for hours, munching a meat pie and smoking a [cigarette], which one of those is relevant?”
In general, the scientists discovered that diets high in processed meats were also linked with unhealthy lifestyles. Does the study linking processed meat with an early death make you less likely to munch on bacon, sausage, or lunch meat?
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