Processed Meat Linked to Early Death
Looking for another excuse to start eating like a Mediterranean? Look no further than this new study from the medical journal BMC Medicine. Researchers followed people from 10 European countries over an average of 13 years and concluded that diets heavy in processed meats—bacon, ham, sausage, and the like are linked to cancer, cardiovascular disease, and early death. Despite evidence that people who eat a lot of processed meats are also more likely to be smokers, the researchers insist that the meat poses its own lethal health risks.
What is red and processed meat?
Red meat includes beef, lamb and pork including minced beef, pork chops and roast lamb. It does not include chicken or turkey meat.
Processed meat refers to meat that has been preserved by smoking, curing, salting or adding preservatives. Examples include ham, bacon, pastrami and salami, as well as hot dogs and some sausages. Hamburgers and minced meats only count as processed meat if they have been preserved with salt or chemical additives.
Meat is a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc and B vitamins. It is one of the main sources of vitamin B12, also found in milk.
Advice from the Department of Health is to consume healthier meat or meat products, such as lean cuts of meat and lean mince and cut down on processed meat.
A healthy, balanced diet containing other good sources of iron – such as lentils, beans, eggs, fish, chicken, nuts and breakfast cereals – is advised.