Do not eat meat products at all, researchers advise

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Eating just two sausages a week increases the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and premature death, experts warn.

A multinational team of researchers tracked the nutrition and health outcomes of 134,297 people from 21 countries across five continents, including Brazil, Argentina, Canada, Sweden and China.

They found a 46 percent higher risk of serious CVD events, such as heart disease and strokes, as well as a 51 percent higher risk of death in those who ate at least 150 g per week of processed meat, compared to those who didn’t eat processed meat. meat.

Assuming 75g is one sausage, this equates to just two sausages per week – but the risk applies to any kind of processed meats, the experts warn.

Processed meat is meat that has been preserved by smoking or salting, curing, or adding chemical preservatives.

Consumption of processed meats – such as sausage, ham, pate, corned beef, smoked meat, salami and cured bacon – should be avoided completely, according to the American Society for Nutrition, which published the study.

Processed meats include sausage, salami, and cured bacon, pate, and beef burgers.  Meat products generally contain a lot of fat and often also contain a lot of salt.  Pictured, grilled sausage on a Brazilian barbecue (stock image)

Processed meats include sausage, salami, and cured bacon, pate, and beef burgers. Meat products generally contain a lot of fat and often also contain a lot of salt. Pictured, grilled sausage on a Brazilian barbecue (stock image)

HEART AND VESSEL DISEASE

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a general term for conditions that affect the heart or blood vessels.

It is usually associated with a build-up of fatty deposits in the arteries (atherosclerosis) and an increased risk of blood clots.

It can also be associated with damage to arteries in organs such as the brain, heart, kidneys and eyes.

CVD is one of the leading causes of death and disability in the UK, but it can often be largely prevented by leading a healthy lifestyle.

All heart disease is cardiovascular disease, but not all cardiovascular disease is heart disease.

CVD events include

It is already known that eating a lot of processed meat increases the risk of colon cancer.

In 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that consumption of processed meat is ‘carcinogenic to humans’.

But research has also shown that processed meat also causes CVD – a general term for diseases of the heart or blood vessels, including blood pressure, stroke and vascular dementia.

All different types of CVD combined make it the number one cause of death worldwide, according to WHO, with an estimated 17.9 million lives per year.

‘We found a negative association between processed meat intake and health outcomes,’ say researchers in their new paper, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

“These findings may indicate that limiting the intake of processed meat should be encouraged.”

The consumption of unprocessed red meat and unprocessed poultry was not found to be associated with mortality or serious CVD events.

The amounts of preservatives and food additives in processed and unprocessed meats differ significantly, which the team says may partly explain the different health effects.

“All of the available data indicates that consuming a modest amount of unprocessed meat as part of a healthy diet is unlikely to be harmful,” said study co-author Dr. Mahshid Dehghan from McMaster University, Canada.

Evidence of a link between meat intake and CVD has so far been inconsistent.

“ We therefore wanted to better understand the associations between unprocessed red meat, poultry and processed meat intake with severe cardiovascular disease and mortality, ” said study author Dr. Romaina Iqbal from the Department of Community Health Sciences and Medicine, Aga Khan University. , Karachi, Pakistan.

‘PURE’ COUNTRIES

The PURE study tracked the dietary habits and health outcomes of participants from 21 low, middle, and high-income countries.

Low income

Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

Middle income

Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Iran, Malaysia, Occupied Palestinian Territory, Philippines, Poland, South Africa and Turkey.

High income

Canada, Saudi Arabia, Sweden and the United Arab Emirates.

To find out more, the team worked with data from the Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiological (PURE) study, a long-term study launched in 2003 by Dr. Salim Yusuf, Director of Population Health Research Institute, Canada.

The PURE study is the first multinational study to provide information on the association between raw and processed meat intake with health outcomes from low, middle and high income countries.

“The PURE study examines substantially more diverse populations and broad dietary patterns, allowing us to provide new evidence,” said Dr. Dehghan.

Participants’ dietary habits were recorded using food frequency questionnaires, while data were also collected on their mortality and severe cardiovascular disease.

After monitoring the participants for nearly a decade, there were 6,976 CVD events and 7,789 deaths.

After completing their analysis, the study authors found “no significant associations between unprocessed red meat and poultry intake with mortality or serious cardiovascular disease.”

In contrast, the intake of processed meat was associated with a higher risk of total death and serious cardiovascular disease.

Researchers checked for factors such as smoking status and levels of physical activity that may have influenced the results.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a general term for conditions that affect the heart or blood vessels.  CVD events include heart disease and strokes.  All heart disease is cardiovascular disease, but not all cardiovascular disease is heart disease

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a general term for conditions that affect the heart or blood vessels.  CVD events include heart disease and strokes.  All heart disease is cardiovascular disease, but not all cardiovascular disease is heart disease

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a general term for conditions that affect the heart or blood vessels. CVD events include heart disease and strokes. All heart disease is cardiovascular disease, but not all cardiovascular disease is heart disease

The authors believe that additional research can improve the current understanding of the relationship between meat consumption and health outcomes.

For example, it is unclear which participants in the study ate a lower meat intake instead of meat, and whether the quality of that food differed from country to country.

Food substitutes other than meat may affect the further interpretation of the associations between meat consumption and health outcomes.

One limitation of the study was that dietary intake was self-reported – meaning any inaccuracies could have led to random errors that could have biased the results.

The study is published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

WHAT IS DEFINED AS PROCESSED MEAT AND WHY IS IT HARMFUL?

Processed meat is meat that has been preserved by smoking or salting, curing, or adding chemical preservatives.

Examples are sausages, ham, pate, corned beef, smoked meat, salami, chorizo ​​and salted bacon.

Experts believe that the substances added during processing cause cancer. These include preservatives such as nitrates – as well as significant amounts of salt and fat.

Most meat from butchers and supermarkets does not count as processed meat, but sausages and burgers do, unless they are homemade.

The potential negative health impact of processed meat may not be entirely due to its saturated fat or cholesterol content, as the amounts of these nutrients are similar in processed and unprocessed meat.

Government guidelines introduced in 2011 recommend that adults eat no more than 70 grams of red or processed meat per day.

This equates to one small sausage or two slices of bacon per day or one lamb cutlet every other day.

Fresh red meat is also strongly linked to cancer.

But it also offers many nutritional benefits and is rich in protein, iron and vitamin B12, which prevent fatigue and infections.