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Processed meat ‘early death’ risk

Processed meat ‘early death’ risk

Processed meat ‘early death’ risk

Eating processed meat such as sausages and ham has been linked to an increased risk of dying young. 

A study of half a million people, published in the journal BMC Medicine claims that 3% of deaths could be prevented if people ate less than 20 grams of processed meat per day. 

Balanced diet

Twenty grams of processed meat is equivalent to one rasher of bacon, and current government guidelines suggest eating no more than 70 grams per day. 

British Heart Foundation’s heart health dietician Tracy Parker said eating red meat is fine as part of a balanced diet. 

“The people who ate the most processed meat in this study also made other unhealthy lifestyle choices,” she said.  

“They were found to eat less fruit and vegetables and were more likely to smoke, which may have had an impact on results.”

Bowel cancer

However, the researchers, who followed people from 10 European countries for over a decade, claimed even after smoking was accounted for processed meat still damaged heath. 

Dr Rachel Thompson, from the World Cancer Research Fund, said: "This research adds to the body of scientific evidence highlighting the health risks of eating processed meat.

"Our research, published in 2007 and subsequently confirmed in 2011, shows strong evidence that eating processed meat, such as bacon, ham, hot dogs, salami and some sausages, increases the risk of getting bowel cancer."

The organisation said there would be 4,000 fewer cases of bowel cancer if people had less than 10g a day.


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