Fri, 08 Mar 2013 04:51:51 GMT

Processed meat may lead to early death: study

London, Mar 7 (PTI) For those who love to eat meat, here''s some sobering news!
Eating too much processed meats such as pies, sausages, and ready meals increases the risk of heart disease, cancer and even early death, a new study has claimed.

Research involving half a million people shows that people who eat a lot of the meat products have a significantly greater chance of dying prematurely than those consuming low amounts.

Over a typical follow up time of 12.7 years, the risk of dying from any cause was 44 per cent greater for high processed meat consumers.

Rates of premature death rose with the quantity of processed meat eaten, ''The Independent'' reported.

High processed meat consumption led to a 72 per cent increased risk of dying from heart disease, and an 11 per cent increased risk of dying from cancer.

"Risks of dying earlier from cancer and cardiovascular disease also increased with the amount of processed meat eaten," Study leader Professor Sabine Rohrmann, from the University of Zurich in Switzerland, said.

"Overall, we estimate that 3 per cent of premature deaths each year could be prevented if people ate less than 20 grams of processed meat per day," said Rohrmann.

European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (Epic) study recruited men and women aged 35 to 70 with widely ranging diets from 10 European countries.

Participants filled in questionnaires about the food they had consumed over the previous 12 months.

Meats were grouped into red, white and processed.
Processed meat included ham, bacon, sausages and ready meal fillings, according to the study published in the journal BMC Medicine.

Over the follow-up period a total of 5,556 participants died from heart and artery disease, 9,861 from cancer, and 1,068 from respiratory diseases.

High consumption of processed meat was defined as 160 or more grams per day.

Diets high in processed meat, in general, were linked to unhealthy lifestyles. Men and women who ate the most processed meat ate the fewest fruits and vegetables, and were more likely to smoke.

Men, but not women, who ate a lot of meat also tended to have high level of alcohol consumption.

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