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Eating Processed Meat Raises Heart Disease Risk By 18%, New Study Finds

A new study carried out by the University of Oxford found that eating processed meat increases the risk of heart disease by 18%. 

In the largest analysis of its kind, researchers at the University of Oxford tracked the health of more than 1.4 million people over 30 years. 

Researchers found that each 50g of processed meat consumed per day (equivalent to only ⅔ of a sausage) increases the risk of heart disease by 18%. 

The study also revealed that each 50g of unprocessed red meat consumed, (such as pork or beef) increases the risk of heart disease by 9%. 

Additionally, the study could not conclude a ‘safe’ amount of red or processed meat to consume, so instead the researchers are urging people to eat as little as possible.

Anika Knüppel, a 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 meat production and consumption to benefit the environment. Our study shows that a reduction in red and processed meat intake would bring personal health benefits too.”

Anika Knüppel has advised governments and policymakers to update health guidelines to inform the public based on these findings. 

meat and heart disease
More Health Risks Associated With Red & Processed Meat

Previous work from the same research team has also indicated that even moderate intakes of red and processed meat are associated with increased risk of bowel cancer.

Dr Keren Papier (Nuffield Department of Population Health), co-lead author of the study, said: ‘Red and processed meat have been consistently linked with bowel cancer and our findings suggest an additional role in heart disease. Therefore, current recommendations to limit red and processed meat consumption may also assist with the prevention of coronary heart disease.’

In 2015 the World Health Organization (W.H.O) classed processed meat as a group 1 carcinogen – the same group as cigarettes! This means that there is just as much strong evidence linking processed meat to cancer as there is linking cigarettes to cancer.

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