By Katrina Pfannkuch
Sausage, bacon and ham, while tasty to some of us, may also lead to serious health complications and early death. According to an article in the journal BMC Medicine, people who eat a lot of processed meats are more likely to suffer cardiovascular disease, cancer and a shorter lifespan due to the chemicals used as preservatives for the meat products.
The article featured research results from a study on half a million men and women between the ages of 35 and 69 from European countries followed for a span of 13 years. Subjects did not have previous cancer, stroke or heart problems.
BBC News reports that one of every 17 people in the study died: 10,000 from cancer and 5,500 due to heart problems. Of those, people who ate more than 160grams of processed meat a day (a couple of sausages and a slice of bacon) were 44 percent more likely to die than those who ate about 20grams of processed meat a day.
Lead researcher Professor Sabine Rohrmann said, “Risks of dying earlier from cancer and cardiovascular disease increased with the consumption of processed meats. We estimate three percent of premature deaths each year could be prevented if people ate less than 20 grams of processed meat per day.”
One thing of note revealed in the research is that it’s not just the meat itself impacting health; people who eat the most processed meat also tend to eat the fewest fruits and vegetables and are more likely to be smokers or obese. Men in the research study also tended to consume more alcohol.