Men who consumed 2.6 ounces (74 grams) of processed meat each day had a 28% greater risk of suffering a heart attack, and double the chance of dying from a heart attack as those men who only consumed 1 ounce (28 grams) or less of processed meat each day. 2.6 ounces of processed meat is equivalent to approximately 2 to 3 slices of ham or bacon. The research also found for every additional 1.7 ounces (48 grams) of processed red meat men consumed each day, they increased their risk of a heart attack by an additional 8%.
While this study only followed men, the researchers expect to find similar results with women. Another recent study indicated consumption of red meat can increase the chance of breast cancer in women, although a new book claims saturated fat isn’t nearly as bad as it has been made out to be. This can be a good time to cut red meat from your diet for financial reasons since beef is at a 27 year high.
There was a bit of good news for meat-lovers in the study. While the research indicated a link between eating processed meat and heart attack risk, they failed to find a connection between unprocessed red meat and heart attack risk. That means that while the ham and bacon shouldn’t be consumed except in small quantities, it’s okay to partake in a steak dinner once or twice a week without the same concern.
The study makes a case that there’s an association between eating process red meat and heart failure, but it doesn’t prove that a steady diet of bacon or ham will cause heart failure. Still, the researchers recommend eliminating all processed red meat from one’s diet, and only eating one to two servings of unprocessed red meat each week based on their findings.
As with all food consumption, a healthy diet consists of not consuming an over abundance of one type of food over all others. It’s important to learn to eat all foods in moderation, and get a wide variety of them in your diet.
(Photo courtesy of edkohler)