Scary sausages: study says processed meat is a killer

Major European study reveals deadly effect of eating a diet with lots of bacon and sausage

LAST UPDATED AT 10:28 ON Thu 7 Mar 2013

BANISH the bacon and chuck the chorizo. People who eat "a lot" of processed meat run a far greater risk of premature death and developing conditions such as cancer and heart disease, a major European study has found.

The study, of 450,000 people across Europe, found that those who ate more than 160g of processed meat a day – that's roughly two sausages and a slice of bacon - were 44 per cent more likely to die early than those eating about 20g. Limiting our processed meat intake to just "a chipolata a day" could prevent 3,000 early deaths a year in the UK, the study's authors have said.

Typical examples of processed meat are cheap ham, bacon and sausages. The products are often made by combining the leftover parts of animals which cannot be sold as good cuts, such as steaks and joints, and contain high concentrations of fat, including artery-clogging cholesterol.

The study – published in the journal BMC Medicine – tracked the health of people aged 35 to 69 in ten European countries for an average of 13 years. It came to an unequivocal conclusion: the more processed meat people eat, the more likely they will die early. Scientists insist the result takes into consideration the fact that people who consume lots of meat pies and sausage rolls "tend to be less active, drink more and smoke".

But Dr Carrie Ruxton, a dietician from the Meat Advisory Panel, told the Daily Telegraph the study should not stop Britons enjoying an occasional bacon sandwich. She told the paper that such studies "could never truly account for lifestyle differences, and isolate the supposed role of meat intake in death rates".

She added: "If you've got someone who's overweight, watching television for hours, munching a meat pie and smoking a fag, which one of those is relevant? You can't say reducing processed meat intake will reduce mortality rates by three per cent." · 

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I need 120gm protein daily, so that is all I look for.

The title is misleading - the paper didn't say that at all. The final paragraph says; [She added:] "If you've got someone who's overweight, watching television for hours, munching a meat pie and smoking a fag, which one of those is relevant? You can't say reducing processed meat intake will reduce mortality rates by three per cent."

In fact, throw in a deep fried Mars bar for dessert and its quite a good description of a significant proportion of the population of Scotland. So, they should all be dropping dead tomorrow, after the first BLT of the day. But they won't . . . because of what she said!

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