Eating a bacon or sausage butty in the morning or having one as a treat on a weekend is a normal occurrence in many households throughout the UK.
But doing do “could trigger heart attack or stroke”, according to new research.
Consumption of processed or red meat
The study included 29,682 people, and was taken over the course of three decades. It found that those who regularly consumed processed or red meat were more prone to an early death.
The report was published in peer-reviewed medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine, and included self reported diets over the previous year or month of 29,682 men and women, with an average age of 53.
Red meat includes beef, lamb, pork, veal and venison, whereas processed meat includes bacon, sausages, hot dogs, ham, salami, corned beef and pates. Poultry includes chickens, geese, turkeys and ducks.
Those in the study who ate two servings of poultry, red meat or processed meat a week were found to have a 3 to 7 per cent higher risk of cardiovascular disease.
However, consuming two servings of red meat or processed meat per week, not including poultry or fish, was linked to a 3 per cent higher risk of all causes of death.
‘It’s worth trying to reduce red meat and processed meat’
After the results of this study, researchers explain that the findings should urge people to reduce their consumption of processed meats.
Norrina Allen, Senior study author, said, “It’s a small difference, but it’s worth trying to reduce red meat and processed meat like pepperoni, bologna and deli meats.
“Red meat consumption also is consistently linked to other health problems like cancer.”
Conflict over risks
Over the past few years, there have been varying studies and findings regarding the health implications of red meat, with conflicting reports regarding the associated risks it could have.
In 2019 alone, there was one study that found eating red meat could increase the risk of early death, but later on in the year it was then said that there wasn’t any proof that red meat and processed meat could cause cancer.
However, the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer has stated that processed meats do cause cancer, adding that red meat is “probably carcinogenic”.
Victor Zhong, lead study author, stated, “Our study shows the link to cardiovascular disease and mortality was robust.
“Modifying intake of these animal protein foods may be an important strategy to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death at a population level.”
However, the evidence presented so far is not sufficient enough to make a clear recommendation about meat intake, explains Dr Zhong.
But fried chicken is not advised, with Dr Zhong adding, "Fried chicken, especially deep fat-fried sources that contribute trans-fatty acids, and fried fish intake have been positively linked to chronic diseases."