Step away from the Baconator. According to a new study from the Harvard School of Public Health, eating too much processed meat’like bacon, sausage and processed deli meats’could increase your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
But before you shed a tear over your BLT, there is a silver lining: the same study found that eating unprocessed meat, such as beef, pork or lamb does not have the same effect.
"Our team here at the Harvard School of Public Health reviewed and combined all prior studies around the world, looking at the relationship between eating meat and risk of heart attack, stroke and diabetes," explains Renata Micha, the study’s lead author, in the video above. "The most important finding is that eating daily 50 grams of processed meats is associated with 42 percent higher risk of heart attacks and 19 percent higher risk of diabetes, while unprocessed red meat was not associated with risk."
Wait a minute’does this mean that red meat is actually good for you? Not exactly. Before you start planning that all-you-can-eat steak celebration, it’s important to note that red meat still contains saturated fats and cholesterol. The difference is that processed meats also contain high levels of salt and preservatives, such as nitrates.
‘Although most dietary guidelines recommend reducing meat consumption, prior individual studies have shown mixed results for relationships between meat consumption and cardiovascular diseases and diabetes,’ said Micha, in a news release. ‘Most prior studies also did not separately consider the health effects of eating unprocessed red versus processed meats.’
In order to lower your risk of coronary disease and diabetes, researchers recommend being aware of the types of meat you are consuming on a regular basis. Though one serving of processed meat a week is associated with a smaller risk, if you’re consuming processed meats regularly, it may be time for a diet makeover.
Will this study keep you away from bacon and hot dogs? Or are they just too delicious to give up?