Diet High in Processed Meats Could Shorten Your Life

WEDNESDAY, March 31, 2021 (HealthDay News) – That piece of sausage you’re about to eat? You might want to pose it for something healthier.

New research has found an association between consuming even small amounts of processed meats, 150 grams (just over 5 ounces) per week, and a higher risk of major heart disease and death.

But not all meat is bad: The study, which includes data from 21 countries, also found that eating up to 250 grams (just under 9 ounces) per week of unprocessed meat, even meat red, was neutral in terms of cardiovascular disease.

Why are processed meats like hot dogs, cold cuts and bacon considered so unhealthy?

“We think it could be the result of food preservatives, food additives and colors, because if you compare, unprocessed and also processed cholesterol and saturated fat are very similar, the difference is in food additives, dyes and nitrates, ”said study author Mahshid. Dehghan, researcher at McMaster University’s Institute for Population Health and Hamilton Health Sciences in Ontario, Canada.

Most of the previous evidence on meat consumption and health outcomes comes from studies conducted in North America, Europe, and Japan. The amount and type of meat consumed in these regions differs from some other regions of the world, including South Asia and Africa, according to the study.

Enter PURE, a long-term study that tracks the eating habits and health outcomes of more than 164,000 people in countries including low-, middle- and high-income people. The study was launched in 2003. It uses questionnaires on the frequency of foods. The researchers also collected other health data.

In the study, the unprocessed red meat was beef, lamb, veal, and pork. Poultry included all birds. Processed meat was any meat that had been salted, cured, or treated with preservatives or food additives.

The increased risk was incurred even with a small amount of processed meat, according to the study.

“I would say it’s about two servings a week. A medium-sized sausage weighs around 75 grams. Having two sausages a week is associated with this amount of increasing risk,” Dehghan said. “The message of our study is really to limit consumption, the amount very limited from time to time, the consumption not very frequent.”

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