Sausages, bacon, salami on the bad health list

BEFORE having your next fry-up or barbecue, consider this:  

The World Health Organisation is poised to declare that bacon, sausages and processed red meats can cause cancer.  

The announcement by the United Nations Health body, due to be released tomorrow, would see bacon, sausages and salami listed in the same category as cigarettes, cancer and asbestos, according to global media reports.  

Higher risk of heart disease

A 2013 study published in medical journal BMC Medicine found people who ate high levels of processed red meats, such as bacon, had up to a 72% higher risk of death from heart disease and an 11% increased risk in dying from cancer.  

The research obtained data from 448,568 men and women without prevalent cancer, stroke, or myocardial infarction, and with complete information on diet, smoking, physical activity and body mass index, who were between 35 and 69 years old.  

The aim of the study was to examine the association of red meat, processed meat, and poultry consumption with the risk of early death in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition.  

Despite a small amount of red meat having positive health benefits due to the presence of iron, protein, zinc, B-vitamins and vitamin-A, a high intake of red meat, especially processed products, was dangerous.  

"A high intake, especially of heme iron, is related to the endogenous formation of N-nitroso compounds in the gastro-intestinal tract and, thus, may be a risk factor for some cancer entities, for example, colon cancer," the study found.  

Deaths can be prevented

The research also found that 3.3% of deaths could be prevented if people consumed less than 20g per day of processed meats.  

"Significant associations with processed meat intake were observed for cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and 'other causes of death'," the study found.  

Eating poultry was not found to increase mortality.  

According to The World Cancer Research Fund 'there is strong evidence that eating a lot of these foods [red and processed meat] increases your risk of bowel cancer.'  

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