BMC Medicine | Abstract | Meat consumption and mortality – results from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition

March 7, 2013 | By | Add a Comment

Recently, some US cohorts have shown a moderate association between red and processed meat consumption and mortality supporting the results of previous studies among vegetarians. The aim of this study was to examine the association of red meat, processed meat, and poultry consumption with risk of early death in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition EPIC.

The new data come from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study, involving 10 countries and almost half a million men and women. It was published online today in BMC Medicine.

Of note, say the authors, while a signal of increased mortality was seen among the highest consumers of red meat in general, the risk for red meat was much lower that that of processed meats and lost statistical significance after correction for measurement error. With the same adjustments and corrections, high processed-meat consumption was associated with an 18% greater risk of all-cause mortality.

As the authors point out, processed meats tend to contain more saturated fat than unprocessed meat (where the fat is often trimmed off), as well as more cholesterol and additives, often as part of the smoking or curing process. Some of these are believed to be carcinogenic or precursors to carcinogenic processes. “Another factor is the content of salt in processed-meat products, which is linked to hypertension, which is a CVD risk factor,” Rohrmann told heartwire. “Heme iron is another mechanism, which links meat consumption to CVD risk, but that’s not limited to processed meat.”

Rohrmann and colleagues also point out that high consumption of processed meat typically went hand in hand with other unhealthy behaviors, including smoking, low physical-activity levels, and low consumption of fruits and vegetables.

via BMC Medicine | Abstract | Meat consumption and mortality – results from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition.

Filed in: Cardio Health, Heart Health

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