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Health Concerns over Processed Meats

19 May 2010

US - In a new study, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) have found that eating processed meat, such as bacon, sausage or processed deli meats, was associated with a 42 per cent higher risk of heart disease and a 19 per cent higher risk of type 2 diabetes.

In contrast, the researchers did not find any higher risk of heart disease or diabetes among individuals eating unprocessed red meat, such as from beef, pork, or lamb.

This work is the first systematic review and meta-analysis of the worldwide evidence for how eating unprocessed red meat and processed meat relates to risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.

“Although most dietary guidelines recommend reducing meat consumption, prior individual studies have shown mixed results for relationships between meat consumption and cardiovascular diseases and diabetes,” said Renata Micha, a research fellow in the department of epidemiology at HSPH and lead author of the study.

"Most prior studies also did not separately consider the health effects of eating unprocessed red versus processed meats.”

The study appears online May 17, 2010, on the website of the journal Circulation.

Further Reading

- You can view our feature on this report by clicking here.

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