Eating processed meat raises risk for heart disease

09:58, March 08, 2010      

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Eating processed meat may increase the risk for heart disease and even diabetes, U.S. researchers suggest.

"To lower risk of heart attacks and diabetes, people should avoid eating too much processed meats -- for example, hot dogs, bacon, sausage or processed deli meats," said Renata Micha, a research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health. "Based on our findings, eating up to one serving per week would be associated with relatively small risk."

The researchers attribute the increased risk to salt and preservatives in processed meat.

"Processed meat" refers to any meat preserved by smoking, curing or salting or with the addition of chemical preservatives, according to the study.

The researchers compared processed meat with unprocessed red meat and found that the former does more harm to the heart.

The researchers defined "unprocessed red meat" as beef, hamburger, lamb and pork.

For the study, the researchers analyzed data from 20 studies that included more than 1.2 million participants. Among them, 23, 889 had coronary heart disease, 2,280 had had a stroke and 10,797 had diabetes.

The researchers found that people who ate unprocessed red meat did not significantly increase their chances of developing heart disease or diabetes. However, eating processed meat was linked to an increased risk for the two conditions.

In fact, for every 50-gram (1.8-ounce) serving, the risk for heart disease jumped 42 percent and the risk for diabetes increased 19 percent, according to the study.

The researchers presented their findings to the on-going conference on cardiovascular disease in San Francisco.

Source: Xinhua
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