May 18, 2010 – Eating hot dogs, bacon, and sausage increases the chance of heart disease by 42 percent, according to a new report.
Eating processed meat is also linked to a 19 percent higher risk of Type 2 diabetes, said the study, which appeared in the US journal Circulation.
However researchers found no higher risk of heart disease or diabetes among people that ate unprocessed red meat such as from beef, pork, or lamb.
Most healthy eating guidelines already recommended limited meat consumption, but until now “studies have shown mixed results for relationships between meat consumption and cardiovascular diseases and diabetes,” said Renata Micha, the lead author of the study.
“Most prior studies also did not separately consider the health effects of eating unprocessed red versus processed meats,” said Micha, a research fellow in the department of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH).
The team reached their conclusions by studying information from 1,600 reports from around the world involving some 1.2 million people.
On average, each 50 gram daily serving of processed meat (about one hot dog) was associated with the higher heart disease and diabetes risk, the researchers said.
Lifestyle factors associated with eating unprocessed red meats and processed meats “were similar, but only processed meats were linked to higher risk,” said report co-author Dariush Mozaffarian, assistant professor in the department of epidemiology at HSPH.
In order to decrease heart attack and diabetes risk, it would be best to avoid processed meats such as bacon, salami, sausages, and hot dogs.
“Based on our findings, eating one serving per week or less would be associated with relatively small risk,” said Micha.