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Don't overdo the bacon, sausage, and salami: study

india Updated: Mar 11, 2013 17:16 IST

Bacon lovers, beware. A large-scale new study finds that anyone who eats over 40 grams a day of sausage products or other kinds of processed meat are asking for trouble.

Consuming sausage, bacon, or ham daily increases your risk of mortality by 18 percent for every 50 grams of processed meat per day. People who consume a lot of processed meat run a higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease or cancer, the study showed.

To keep your health in check, go easy on the bacon, a large-scale new study finds. ©Bonchan/Shutterstock

This is the result of a study conducted with around 450,000 participants in 10 countries by the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine at the University of Zurich in collaboration with research colleagues from all over Europe.

The problem is that carcinogenic substances such as nitrosamines form through salting, pickling or smoking, and these might be the cause of the increase in cancer mortality, the researchers suggested.. Plus processed meats are also high in cholesterol and saturated fats, which are linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Other lifestyle factors also came into play for people who consumed a lot of processed meats. They also ate fewer fruits and vegetables, drank more alcohol and smoked more.

Still controlling for these factors, the core result of the study remained the same, the researchers say: People who eat over 40 grams of processed meat per day have an increased risk of mortality compared to those who eat fewer than 20 grams a day. However, they added that a moderate consumption should be okay, since meat is also a key source of B vitamins especially and iron, wrote the authors.

Findings were published Thursday in the journal BMC Medicine.

In a separate study last year, Harvard School of Public Health also found that red meat consumption is associated with an increased risk of total, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality. The results also showed that substituting other healthy protein sources, such as fish, poultry, nuts, and legumes, was associated with a lower risk of mortality. That study was published Archives of Internal Medicine last March.

Access the new study: