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Processed meat

Don't want to die before your time? Stop eating processed meat

Monday, March 11, 2013 by: Sherry Baker, Health Sciences Editor
Tags: processed meat, death risk, cancer

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(NaturalNews) A new study just published in Biomed Central's journal, BMC Medicine, has found a strong association between eating processed meat and developing heart disease and cancer. While other studies have found health risks from processed meats before, the new research is remarkable because it involved a huge number of research subjects -- about half a million men and women.

Why does this large number make the finding so important? Researchers have previously had trouble measuring the effect of eating meat on health because of what is called a "confounding effect" of the lifestyles of many people who don't eat meat. Vegetarians tend to have healthier lifestyles in general. And because non-meat eaters are less likely to smoke, are less overweight and are more likely to exercise, it's been hard to see if it is the fact they don't eat meat or these their other healthy behaviors that make vegetarians often healthier than meat eaters. It takes a very large study that controls for confounding effects in order to pinpoint specific consequences of eating meat and processed meat and to make sure the findings are isolated from other lifestyle choices.

In all, the EPIC (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition) study involved 10 countries and 23 centers in Europe. The researchers found that a diet high in processed meat was linked to other unhealthy lifestyle choices. For example, people who ate the most processed meat ate less fruit and vegetables and were more likely to smoke. Men who ate a lot of meat also tended to drink more alcohol.

The study's results showed that a person's risk of dying prematurely from any cause went up with the amount of processed meat eaten. This held true after correcting for confounding variables. "Risks of dying earlier from cancer and cardiovascular disease also increased with the amount of processed meat eaten," Professor Sabine Rohrmann of the University of Zurich, who led this analysis, said in a media statement. "Overall, we estimate that three percent of premature deaths each year could be prevented if people ate less than 20g processed meat per day."

Another new study, recently published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer, by Paige E. Miller, PhD of the National Cancer Institute and colleagues also brings up concerns about processed meats. The scientists concluded that their research supports the idea that increased exposure to chemicals in processed meats including nitrites and nitrates, ".. is a plausible mechanism by which red and processed meat may increase colorectal cancer risk."



About the author:
Sherry Baker is a widely published writer whose work has appeared in Newsweek, Health, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Yoga Journal, Optometry, Atlanta, Arthritis Today, Natural Healing Newsletter, OMNI, UCLA''''s "Healthy Years" newsletter, Mount Sinai School of Medicine''''s "Focus on Health Aging" newsletter, the Cleveland Clinic''''s "Men''''s Health Advisor" newsletter and many others.

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