Scientists say processed meat could be bad for you

Bacon sandwich on a plate

Scientists say eating too much processed meat - like bacon, ham, or some sausages - can be bad for your health.

  • What is red meat? Red meat includes beef, lamb and pork including minced beef, pork chops and roast lamb. It does not include chicken or turkey meat.

They did a study of half a million people and found that those who ate lots of processed meat products - meat preserved using salt, smoke or chemicals - were more likely to get serious health problems in the future.

  • What is processed meat?Processed meat is meat that has been preserved by smoking, curing, salting or adding preservatives. So this means food like ham, bacon, and hot dogs.

The UK government recommends people eat no more than 70 grams of processed meat each day - the same as a couple of slices of bacon. But this report recommends people eat just 20 grams.

Sausages on a hot plate Some sausages count as processed meat, but only if they have preservatives in them.

The study actually found that eating a little bit of meat - even processed meat - had health benefits.

Meat contains lots of nutrients like protein and iron which are essential to keep your body fit and healthy.

  • Is meat good for you? Meat is a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc and B vitamins. It is one of the main sources of vitamin B12, which is also found in milk.

Experts say that lean meat like chicken and turkey is healthiest.

The study followed people from 10 European countries for around 13 years.

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