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Processed meats linked to heart disease

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Eating processed meat is linked to high risk of heart disease and diabetes, according to a new study 

scheduled to be presented Friday at an American Heart Association conference on cardiovascular disease in San Francisco.

Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health found it is processed meat, not red meat that was associated with increased risk of heart disease and diabetes.

For the study, Renata Micha and colleagues included smoked, cured, salted meat with added chemical preservatives such as hot dogs, bacon, sausage or processed deli meats in the processed meat group and unprocessed meats such as beef, hamburger, lamb and pork in the red meat group.

Micha et al. meta-analyzed data from 20 studies of more than 1.2 million participants of whom 23,889 were diagnosed with coronary heart disease, 2,280 with a stroke and 10,797 with diabetes.

Those who ate unprocessed red meat were not at significantly increased risk of developing heart disease or diabetes, but those who ate processed meat was associated with increased risk of both diseases.

To be exact, every 50-gram serving was linked to a 42 percent increase in the risk of heart disease and 19 percent increase in the risk of diabetes.

Good news is that neither unprocessed red meat nor processed meats were linked with increased risk for stroke.

By Jimmy Downs

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