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Study: Moderate link between processed meat consumption and early death

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | MARCH 7, 2013

Everything in moderation is good, right? How about when the moderate adjective is given to the chance of death at an early age?

According to a new study published on the BMC Medicine Journal, the relation between consumption of processed meats is moderately related to early deaths in humans. The study concluded that diets high in processed meats were linked to cardiovascular disease, cancer and early deaths.

Along with the findings about consumption of processed meat and early death, researchers also discovered that people who ate a lot of processed meat were also more likely to smoke, be obese and have other behaviours that damage their health.

If a person ate more than 160g of processed meat a day, which is equal to two sausages and a slice of bacon, they were at least 44% more likely to die over the next 12.7 years. People who in contrast ate about 20g a day had much lower chances of suffering an early death.

For the span of the study, nearly 10,000 people died from cancer and 5,500 from heart problems as a consequence of abusive processed meat consumption.

Previous studies had already hinted at the relation between eating a lot of red processed meat and serious health problems. Back in in 2007 a study performed by the World Cancer Research Fund showed strong evidence that eating processed meat, such as bacon, ham, hot dogs, salami and some sausages, increased the risk of getting bowel cancer. According to Dr. Rachel Thompson, there would be 4,000 fewer cases of bowel cancer if people ate less than 10g of processed meats a day.

The study by analyzed 448,568 men and women who did not suffer from prevalent cancer, stroke, or myocardial infarction. Researchers evaluated their diet, and habits such as smoking, physical activity and body mass index. Those men and women were between 35 and 69 years old. Scientists used a method known as Cox proportional hazards regression to examine the association of meat consumption with all-cause and cause-specific mortality.

By mid 2009, June 2009, 26,344 deaths were identified as consequence of consuming large amounts of processed red meat. After carefully analyzing the data, researchers determined that a high consumption of red meat “was related to higher all-cause mortality”. An interesting revelation of the study is that men and women who consume larger amounts of processed meat actually eat less fruits and vegetables than people who intake less meat. This may be the reason why people who feed themselves according to the Mediterranean diet while eating considerable amounts of meat and exercising regularly do not suffer from serious health problems.

“The results of our analysis support a moderate positive association between processed meat consumption and mortality, in particular due to cardiovascular diseases, but also to cancer,” concluded the study.

The study published on the BMC Medical Journal points to a National Institutes of Health-American report which found positive associations between both red and processed meat consumption with risk for all-cause mortality. In that report, the association was stronger between red meat intake and early death than for processed meat consumption and health problems.

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About Luis Miranda
The Real Agenda is an independent publication. It does not take money from Corporations, Foundations or Non-Governmental Organizations. It provides news reports in three languages: English, Spanish and Portuguese to reach a larger group of readers. Our news are not guided by any ideological, political or religious interest, which allows us to keep our integrity towards the readers.

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