Processed meats 'raise risk of heart disease'

Eating processed meats like bacon, ham and sausages can increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes, according to new research.

Processed meats are already linked to a higher chance of developing bowel cancer but a round-up of worldwide research has shown a link with other conditions.

A review by the Harvard School of Public Health in the US found people who eat processed meats have a 42% higher risk of heart disease and a 19% increased risk of Type 2 diabetes.

However, unprocessed red meats, such as beef, pork or lamb, do not raise the risk.

Experts examined 20 worldwide published studies involving more than a million people.

They found a 42% increased risk of heart disease and 19% increased risk of Type 2 diabetes for each daily serving, on average, of 50g of processed meat.

A serving of 50g is roughly the equivalent of two rashers of bacon or one hot dog.

Writing online in the journal Circulation, the authors said: "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."

The authors said that, until now, studies have shown an inconsistent link between meat, heart disease and diabetes.

They defined processed meat as any meat preserved by smoking, curing or salting, or with chemical preservatives added to it.

Examples include bacon, salami, sausages, hot dogs and processed deli or luncheon meats.

The authors found the effects held true even when lifestyle factors that could affect the results were taken into account.

They noted that the lifestyle factors of people who ate processed meats were similar to those who ate unprocessed meats, yet processed meats were still linked with a higher risk.

Lead author Renata Micha, a research fellow in the department of epidemiology, said: "When we looked at average nutrients in unprocessed red and processed meats eaten in the United States, we found that they contained similar average amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol.

"In contrast, processed meats contained, on average, four times more sodium and 50% more nitrate preservatives.

"This suggests that differences in salt and preservatives, rather than fats, might explain the higher risk of heart disease and diabetes seen with processed meats, but not with unprocessed red meats."

Salt is known to increase blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart disease.

Studies on animals have also shown that nitrate preservatives can cause a build up of hard deposits in the arteries and reduce the body's ability to handle sugars, which can increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Ms Micha said: "To lower risk of heart attacks and diabetes, people should consider which types of meats they are eating.

"Processed meats such as bacon, salami, sausages, hot dogs and processed deli meats may be the most important to avoid.

"Based on our findings, eating one serving per week or less would be associated with relatively small risk."

Two rashers of bacon a day throughout life has been linked to a 20% increase in the risk of developing bowel cancer.

Men in the UK eat an average of nearly 50g of processed meat a day compared with just 24g for women, research has shown.

The average person has a risk of bowel cancer of five in 100 but this rises to six in 100 if they eat an extra 50g of processed meat per day, according to the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF).

Their scientists estimate that about 3,700 of the 37,000 new cases of bowel cancer in the UK each year could be prevented if everyone ate less than 70g of processed meat per week - roughly three rashers of bacon.

Victoria Taylor, senior heart health dietician at the British Heart Foundation, said: "The study didn't look at why processed meats were linked with heart disease and unprocessed meats weren't.

"However, they suggested this might have been due to the preservatives, like salt, added to processed meat.

"If you like red meat, this can still be included as part of a balanced, heart-healthy diet.

"Go for lean cuts and aim to cook from scratch using healthier cooking methods like grilling or baking.

"If you need to add flavour, then try using fresh and dried herbs, spices and chilli instead of salt."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
News
The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
Sport
Rio Ferdinand returns for QPR
sportRio Ferdinand returns from his three-game suspension today
News
people

Watch the spoof Thanksgiving segment filmed for Live!
Sport
Billy Twelvetrees will start for England against Australia tomorrow with Owen Farrell dropping to the bench
rugbyEngland need a victory against Australia today
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of The Guest Cat – expect to see it everywhere
books
Sport
Tyson Fury poses outside the Imperial War Museum in south London ahead of his fight against Dereck Chisora
All British heavyweight clash gets underway on Saturday night
News
i100 Charity collates series of videos that show acts of kindness to animals
Arts and Entertainment
One of the installations in the Reiner Ruthenbeck exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery
artCritics defend Reiner Ruthenbeck's 'Overturned Furniture'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Opilio Recruitment: QA Automation Engineer

    £30k - 38k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: An award-winning consume...

    Opilio Recruitment: UX & Design Specialist

    £40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

    Opilio Recruitment: Publishing Application Support Analyst

    £30k - 35k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We’re currently re...

    Opilio Recruitment: Digital Marketing Manager

    £35k - 45k per year + benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

    Christmas Appeal

    Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
    Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

    Is it always right to try to prolong life?

    Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

    What does it take for women to get to the top?

    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
    Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

    Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

    Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
    French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

    French chefs campaign against bullying

    A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

    Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
    Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

    Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

    Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
    Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

    Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

    Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
    Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

    Paul Scholes column

    I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
    Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

    Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

    So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game