Researchers found that each 1.8 oz (50 grams) daily serving of processed meat, such as one to two slices of deli meats or one hot dog, was associated with a staggering 42 percent higher risk of heart disease and a 19 percent higher risk of developing diabetes.
To investigate, researchers reviewed nearly 1,600 studies from around the world looking for evidence of a link between eating processed and unprocessed red meat and the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Processed meat was considered any meat preserved by smoking, curing or salting, or with the addition of chemical preservatives, such as bacon, salami, sausages, hot dogs or processed deli or luncheon meats.
Unprocessed red meat included beef, lamb or pork but not poultry.
Researchers found that processed meat products, not unprocessed red meat raised health risks. Daily consumption of processed meats was associated with a 42 percent higher risk of heart disease and a 19 percent higher risk of developing diabetes.
Researchers found no higher heart or diabetes risk in people who ate only unprocessed red meats.
While further studies are needed, researchers warn that salt and chemical preservatives may be the real cause of the two health problems associated with eating processed meat products.
Researchers found that nutrients in processed and unprocessed meat products were similar in terms of saturated fat and cholesterol. The real difference came when researchers compared sodium and preservatives. They found that on average, processed meats contained four times more sodium and 50 percent more nitrate preservatives than unprocessed meat.
The study appears online May 17, 2010, on the website of the journal Circulation.
All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.