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Processed meat

Consuming processed, chemical-laden meat increases risk of dying young by 50 percent

Monday, March 18, 2013 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: processed meat, chemical additives, death risk

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(NaturalNews) More evidence has emerged pointing to processed, chemical-laden meat products as a significant contributing factor to early mortality. A recent study published in the journal BMC Medicine reveals that even moderate consumption of certain processed meat products could increase the risk of death by about 50 percent.

To arrive at this conclusion, dozens of researchers from some of the world's most prominent educational institutions followed and tracked roughly half a million people living throughout Europe. The team evaluated the dietary habits of the participants, and compared this data to the health effects observed collectively throughout the course of about 13 years.

At the conclusion of the study, it was determined that, overall, one in 17 participants died from some cause. But after adjusting for outside factors such as smoking and lifestyle habits, it was learned that those who ate more than 160 grams, or about six ounces, of processed meat a day were about 44 percent likely to die compared to those who at 20g (0.71 ounces) a day or fewer.

The findings build upon earlier research that has already identified what appears to be a causal link between processed meat consumption and increased risk of mortality. Research published in the journal Circulation back in 2010, for instance, found that eating a mere two ounces of processed meat a day increases the risk of diabetes by 19 percent and heart disease by 42 percent.

"High meat consumption, especially processed meat, is associated with a less healthy lifestyle," explained Professor Sabine Rohrmann from the University of Zurich in Switzerland to BBC News. "But after adjusting for smoking, obesity and other confounders we think there is a risk of eating processed meat."

Meat processed with chemicals, not meat in general, is dangerous to health

To be clear, processed meat was specifically identified as a factor in early mortality, not meat in general. As explained by Ursula Arens of the British Dietetic Association (BDA) to BBC News, processed meats that contain preservatives and other chemicals that alter its taste, consistency or shelf life are what appear to be the culprits in early mortality risk.

"Something has been done to it to extend its shelf life, or to changes its taste, or to make it more palatable in some ways ... and this could be a traditional process like curing or salting," said Arens.

As we have written about previously, sodium nitrite, sodium nitrate and various other synthetic meat preservatives have been linked to causing neurological damage, obesity, infertility, and even cancer. Avoiding meats that contain these additives is the first step towards real health, as is sticking with uncured, organic, grass-fed meat products free of toxic preservatives.

"Grass-fed beef and dairy products are leaner, but more importantly, lower in omega-6 fats that are linked to heart disease," explains a thorough piece on the benefits of grass-fed meat products published by Mother Earth News. "Grass-fed meat and dairy products are also higher in beneficial omega-3 fats and conjugated linoleic acids. Both reduce the risk of heart disease."

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