Eating Processed Meat Raises Heart Disease Risk By Fifth | Meat


Eating processed meat increases the risk of heart disease by a fifth, according to the largest ever analysis of research on the impact of meat consumption on heart health.

Researchers at the University of Oxford are urging the public to reduce their consumption of red and processed meat by three-quarters, or forgo it altogether, in order to reduce their risk of dying from coronary heart disease.

The team found that eating 50g per day of processed meat, including bacon, ham and sausage, increased the risk of heart disease by 18% due to its high salt and saturated fat content.

That figure fell to 9% for unprocessed red meat, such as beef, lamb and pork, but no link was found between heart disease and the consumption of poultry, such as chicken and turkey, which are lower in saturated fat.

Anika Knüppel, co-lead author of the study, said: “We know that meat production is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and we need to reduce the production and consumption of meat for the benefit of the environment. ‘environment. Our study shows that reducing the consumption of red and processed meat would also provide personal health benefits. ”

She added that there was no agreement on what constitutes a safe level, and instead recommended consuming as little as possible, with once a week as much as possible. She urged policy makers to strengthen public health guidelines to encourage more people to limit their consumption of processed red meat.

While research has not established the reasons for this link, high intakes of saturated fat are believed to increase levels of harmful low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, while excessive salt intake increases pressure. arterial blood, both present in large quantities. in processed meat and are well established risk factors for coronary heart disease.

Around 9 million people worldwide die of coronary heart disease each year, caused by narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the heart. In the UK, 10% of people are expected to die from coronary heart disease at term, a figure that researchers say could be reduced to 9% if people cut back on red meat from the three quarts or stopped consuming it.

Previous work by the same research team has indicated that even moderate consumption of red and processed meat is associated with an increased risk of bowel cancer.

Researchers at Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Population Health analyzed all available evidence, including 13 health cohort studies of more than 1.4 million people over 30 years, to definitively establish the link between coronary heart disease and consumption of red meat. Most of the studies were based on white adults living in Europe or the United States, with more data needed from other populations.

This article was amended on July 21, 2021 to clarify the reference to 50g of meat as “per day”.

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