Study of 440,000+ Shows Eating Processed Meat Leads to Increase in Death from Heart Disease and Cancer

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

A new study out of Europe says that those who eat red meat (processed and unprocessed) are more prone to die from heart disease and cancer, particularly those who consume large quantities of processed meats.


More than 448,000 men and women from ten European countries age 35-70 were included in the study, which tracked the participants long enough to note that 26,344 had died by 2009.


The researchers concluded from studying those who died that “a high consumption of red meat was related to higher all-cause mortality.”


They added that their “analysis support a moderate positive association between processed meat consumption and mortality, in particular due to cardiovascular diseases, but also to cancer.”


Another study by the National Institutes of Health and the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) produced a similar conclusion about red meat. In examining more than a half-million older Americans, the American researchers concluded that people who ate more red meat and processed meat over a 10-year-period were likely to die sooner than those who ate smaller amounts.


Processed meats include bacon, bologna, ham, hot dogs, pepperoni and sausage, among other products.


Yet another study by the Cleveland Clinic determined that the problem with red meat was more than its fat content.


“The real culprit,” Gina Kolata of The New York Times wrote, “was a little-studied chemical that is burped out by bacteria in the intestines after people eat red meat. It is quickly converted by the liver into yet another little-studied chemical called TMAO that gets into the blood and increases the risk of heart disease.”

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Meat Consumption and Mortality - Results from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (by Sabine Rohrmann et al, BMC Medicine) (pdf)

The Truth About Red Meat (by Elizabeth Lee, WebMD)

Culprit in Heart Disease Goes Beyond Meat’s Fat (by Gina Kolata, New York Times)


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