Processed Meat Linked To Diabetes, Heart Disease Risk
By Mike Boyle

It’s not really news that red meat has never played the best role for those dealing with heart disease and diabetes. Now a new analysis from researchers at Harvard School of Public Health suggests that processed red meat - such as bacon, salami, hot dogs, etc. – "may be the true dietary villain," reports The Boston Globe via

Researchers have reviewed more than 1,500 studies about the connection between red meat, processed meat, and total meat consumption and heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. They selected 20 studies involving more than 1.2 million participants from 10 countries who were followed for up to 18 years. More than 23,000 people developed heart disease, more than 2,200 had strokes, and more than 10,000 had diabetes.

In analyzing the study results, the researchers found that eating unprocessed red meat was not associated with heart disease or diabetes. However, people who ate at least one serving a day of processed red meat - one hot dog or two deli slices - had a 42 percent greater risk of heart disease and a 19 percent greater risk of diabetes than people who did not consume processed red meat.

"People should not use this finding as an excuse to eat all the unprocessed meat you like," Renata Micha, a fellow in epidemiology with the Harvard School of Public Health, told The Boston Globe. "We know fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fish are associated with lower risk. People should put more emphasis on increasing foods in their diet that are shown to be protective."
Read more of The Boston Globe’s coverage here, and take a look at an abstract of The Harvard analysis, published online in the journal Circulation here.


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 Originally posted May 18, 2010.