Processed meat causes heart disease, diabetes

Monday, September 27, 2010 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: processed meat, diabetes, health news

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(NaturalNews) Processed meat consumption increases your risk of heart disease and diabetes, yet another study has shown.

Prior research has consistently linked the consumption of processed meats such as bacon, sausage, salami, hot dogs and lunch meats with a higher risk of cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. In the current meta-analysis, conducted by scientists from Harvard University and published in the journal Circulation, researchers combined the results of nearly 1,600 prior studies to test for an effect on diabetes and heart disease specifically.

For the purposes of the current study, processed meats were defined as meat products preserved by means of curing, smoking, salting or chemicals. They found that every 1.8 ounces of processed meat consumed per day raised the risk of diabetes by 19 percent and the risk of heart disease by 42 percent. This increased risk was not seen in people who ate unprocessed red meat products.

Although researchers could not be sure what element of processed meat led to the increased risk, they could rule out certain effects.

"When we looked at average nutrients in unprocessed red and processed meats eaten in the United States, we found that they contained similar average amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol," researcher Renata Micha said. "In contrast, processed meats contained, on average, four times more sodium and 50 percent more nitrate preservatives."

The study did not examine poultry, fish or vegetable consumption. It did not examine the risk of high blood pressure or cancer.

The researchers suggested that to reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes, people keep their processed meat consumption to one serving per week or less.

"To lower risk of heart attacks and diabetes, people should consider which types of meats they are eating," Micha said. "Processed meats such as bacon, salami, sausages, hot dogs and processed deli meats may be the most important to avoid."

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