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article imageStudy suggests processed meats increase risk of heart disease

By Paris Franz     May 30, 2010 in Health
Researchers from Harvard University have found that eating processed meat such as sausages increases the likelihood of heart disease. Red meat seems not to be as harmful.
The team from Harvard School of Public Heath looked at 20 studies involving more than one million people from 10 countries, and found just 50g of processed meat a day raised the risk of both heart disease and diabetes. Yet eating twice as much unprocessed meat, such as beef, lamb or pork, posed no such risk.
The two forms of meat have a similar fat content, and the researchers have speculated that the difference may be explained by the salt and preservatives added to processed meats, according to the BBC. Salt can increase blood pressure, which is a key risk factor for heart disease.
On average, each 50g serving of processed meat per day - the equivalent of a sausage or a couple of rashers of bacon - was associated with a 42% higher chance of developing coronary heart disease and a 19% higher risk of diabetes.
While good news for fans of red meat, it still pays to be careful in preparing food. "If you like red meat, this can still be included as part of a balanced heart-healthy diet,” Victoria Taylor, senior heart health dietician at the British Heart Foundation, told the BBC. “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 chillies instead of salt."
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