People who eat processed meat like bacon, sausages and ham have a 42% higher risk of developing heart disease, a new report by a US research team has claimed.
The Harvard School of Public Health study also said that people who eat 50g of processed meats in their diet each day are 19% more likely to suffer from type 2 diabetes. Red meats which are unprocessed, such as beef, lamb or pork, do not increase the risk.
Harvard experts looked at 20 global studies involving more than one million people after processed meats had previously been linked with a higher chance of bowel cancer.
The research team - writing online in the journal Circulation - noted: "Consumption of processed meats, but not red meats, is associated with higher incidence of coronary heart disease and diabetes mellitus (type 2).
"These results highlight the need for better understanding of potential mechanisms of effects, and for particular focus on processed meats for dietary and policy recommendations."