The Zoomer Report: Processed Meat Linked to Heart, Diabetes Risks

We all know that it’s a good idea to cut back on red meat. Now a new study finds the kind of meat you eat makes a big difference. The research published in the journal Circulation shows eating processed red meat — such as hot dogs, bacon, sausage, and cold cuts — is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes.

But the study shows no such link for unprocessed red meat.

Eating one serving a day of processed meat — or the equivalent of a single hot dog or two slices of salami — was associated with a 42 per cent increased risk for heart disease and a 19 per cent increased risk for diabetes.

Eating unprocessed beef, pork, or lamb was not linked to a higher risk. The study is the largest research review ever to attempt to tease out the health impact of eating processed vs. unprocessed red meat. Both types of meat contain similar amounts of fat and cholesterol, but processed meats contain about four times more sodium and 50 per cent more nitrate preservatives.

The finding has important implications for public health. The researchers advise that eating processed meat once a week would be fine. And they caution that this study should not be taken as license to eat unlimited amounts of unprocessed red meat.

Photo © Zoran Jagrovic


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About The Zoomer Report

Libby ZnaimerLibby Znaimer, a prominent Canadian journalist specializing in business, politics, and lifestyle issues, is producer and host of The Zoomer Report, a special feature on topics of interest to baby boomers and the 50+. It covers everything from health and wealth to leisure and volunteerism, from the special vantage point of the generation that has changed society in its wake.

Ms. Znaimer is also Vice-President of News and Information for Classical 96.3FM and AM740. Her first book, “In Cancerland – Living Well Is The Best Revenge” – was published in October 2007 by Key Porter.

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