The Wise Guide to Aging

Hold the Bacon…

…And the sausages, the salami and all other processed meat: the more of it you eat, the greater your risks of death from heart disease, stroke and cancer. That’s the conclusion of a newly published European analysis that collected data from almost a half-million people in 10 countries. The researchers found that consuming more than 20 grams of processed meat per day (equivalent to a single thin strip of bacon) was enough to raise the risks. The good news for meat eaters is that the findings don’t apply to unprocessed red meat. Part of the risk of processed meats is the fat content. But lead researcher Sabine Rohrmann, Ph.D., professor of epidemiology at the University of Zurich, suggested that the salt, smoke and nitrates used to preserve meats could be to blame. Another possibility: people who eat a lot of processed meat have other less-than-healthy habits: in this study they tended to eat fewer fruits and vegetables and were more likely to smoke, drink alcohol and forego exercise than participants who ate little meat. The study was published on March 7, 2013 in BMC Medicine.

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