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Processed meat linked to type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease

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By David Liu, PHD

Sunday Sept 30, 2012 (foodconsumer.org) -- A new study in Current Atherosclerosis Reports suggests that eating too much processed meat can drastically increase risk of both type 2 diabetes mellitus and coronary artery disease or coronary heart disease.

The study led by D. Mozaffarian at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, MA and colleagues showed eating 50 grams per day of processed meat was associated with 42 percent increased risk of coronary heart disease and 51 percent increased risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus.

A meta-analysis of data from prospective cohort studies found these associations.  However, unprocessed meat consumption was not associated with an increased risk for coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes or the increase was small.  For instance, eating 100 grams of unprocessed red meat was linked with 19 percent increased risk for type 2 diabetes.

The researchers consumption of processed meat and unprocessed meat does not render any cardiovascular benefit and it is advisable that consumption of processed meat needs to be restricted to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease.

Unprocessed meat refers to fresh/frozen meat and processed meat refers to meat with added preservatives like sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate, which are known to be toxic.

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