Every day six slices of bacon, three sausages or a steak of 7 us food ‘increases the risk of an early death’
- Study of 2,600 men found 200 g of meat every day for 20 years, increasing the risk
- Most men ate mainly red meat, which is related to heart disease
- No risk was found for other animal proteins, such as fish, dairy or eggs
Eating six slices of bacon, three sausages or seven grams of steak every day can increase your risk of an early death, research suggests.
A study found that men who ate more than 200 g of meat per day were 23 percent more likely to die in the next 20 years than those who had less than 100 g (3.5 oz).
Researchers noted that the main protein source of the participants was red meat, which was associated with heart disease and colon cancer.
The study suggests that eating more than 200 grams of meat per day increases the risk of an early death. This corresponds to about six slices of bacon, three sausages, a steak or ten slices of ham (broth)
One grater of bacon usually weighs 31 g (1 oz). Therefore, a person should eat a little less than six and a half slices to take them up to 200 g.
A sausage is usually around 66 g (2.3 oz) and a slice of ham 20 g (0.7 oz). We should therefore eat three sausages and ten slices of ham to bring our intake to 200 g.
The findings, by Finnish researchers, add extra fuel to the current row on red meat and whether it is healthy.
The research was conducted by the University of Eastern Finland and led by Heli Virtanen, a registered dietitian.
The UK Department of Health recommends that people eat no more than 70 g (2.4 oz) of red or processed meat per day.
And the American Institute of Cancer Research recommends a maximum of 510 g (18 oz) per week, which is approximately 72 g (2.5 oz) per day.
Red meat contains more saturated fat than chicken or turkey, which can raise cholesterol levels that are known to cause heart disease.
DOES RED MEAT INCREASE OUR RISK OF CANCER CANCER?
Red meat – such as beef and lamb – “probably increases your risk of colon cancer,” according to the NHS.
And processed meat – such as sausage and bacon – carries a similar risk.
The NHS and the American Institute of Cancer Research both recommend limiting our consumption to around 70 grams per day.
These recommendations came about after the Iron and Health report of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition from 2011 concluded that red and processed meat is likely to increase the risk of colon cancer.
However, the report could not identify the exact quantities that are safe to eat.
The same survey found that the average British adult eats 70 grams of red meat every day.
The 2007 report from the World Cancer Research Fund Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer also said that the link between red meat and the disease is “convincing.”
The NHS therefore recommends that people who eat 90 g or more red meat lower their intake to 70 g per day.
And the NHS sets red and processed meat – including sausages, bacon and ham – “probably increases your risk of colon cancer.”
But health care also praises red meat because it is rich in proteins, iron and vitamin B12.
To find out the long-term effects of meat on our health, the researchers analyzed 2,641 Finnish men.
The men – who were initially between 42 and 60 years old – registered their protein intake over a typical four-day period.
They were then followed for an average of 22 years, during which 1,225 disease-related deaths occurred.
The study found that people with a high animal protein consumption were significantly more likely to die prematurely than their vegetable intake.
However, this was only true for those who ate excessive amounts of meat, with fish, dairy and eggs not posing any risk.
Excessive eating in meat was found to be particularly dangerous for people with type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease or cancer.
The results, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, remained true even after the researchers had adjusted for other lifestyle factors.
Future studies should investigate how protein specifically affects people with health problems, the scientists claim.
“However, these findings should not be generalized for elderly people at greater risk of malnutrition and whose protein intake often remains below the recommended amount,” said Virtanen.