The risk of heart disease and diabetes can be increased by eating too much processed meat such as bacon, ham and sausages, according to research.
Studies have already suggested links between processed meats and bowel cancer. This study now points to a link with other conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.
According to the Harvard School of Public Health in the US, there is a 42% higher chance of having heart disease and a 19% greater risk of being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes for each daily serving, on average, of 50g of processed meat. A serving of 50g is roughly the equivalent of two rashers of bacon or one hot dog. These risks were not found in people who ate unprocessed red meats such as beef, pork or lamb.
Experts examined 20 worldwide published studies involving more than a million people.
Writing online in the journal Circulation, the authors said: “Consumption of processed meats, but not red meats, is associated with higher incidence of coronary heart disease and diabetes mellitus (Type 2).
“These results highlight the need for better understanding of potential mechanisms of effects and for particular focus on processed meats for dietary and policy recommendations.”