In a new study, researchers found a link between eating processed meat and a higher risk of heart disease.
The same study did not find the same link with unprocessed red meat or poultry.
The research was conducted by a team at McMaster University and elsewhere.
In the study, the team examined the diets and health outcomes of 134,297 people from 21 countries spanning five continents.
Participants’ dietary habits were recorded using food frequency questionnaires, while data was also collected on their mortality and major heart disease events.
After following the participants for almost a decade, the researchers found consumption of 150 grams or more of processed meat a week was linked to a 46% higher risk of heart disease and a 51% higher risk of death than those who ate no processed meat.
However, the researchers also found moderate levels of consumption of non-processed meats had a neutral effect on health.
The team believes that additional research may improve the current understanding of the relationship between meat consumption and health outcomes.
For example, it is unclear what study participants with lower meat intakes were eating instead of meat, and if the quality of those foods differed between countries.
Non-meat food substitutes may have implications in further interpreting the associations between meat consumption and health outcomes.
The study is published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. One author of the study is Romaina Iqbal.
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