19 May 2010
American researchers have found that small quantities of processed meat like bacon and ham can increase the chances of developing heart disease but they found no such risk from eating red meat, like steaks.
Click to hear the report:
The team from Harvard University looked at 20 studies involving more than a million people from around the world. They found that eating the equivalent of one sausage a day appeared to increase the likelihood of heart disease, the leading cause of death in the UK, by over 40%. The regular eating of processed meat also raised the risk of diabetes by nearly 20%.
But those who enjoy red meat can draw some comfort from the report. The researchers did not find any heightened risk of heart disease or diabetes from eating unprocessed red meat, like beef, lamb or pork - even in larger quantities.
Writing in the journal Circulation, they suggest it may be
the salt and preservatives used in processed meat that are behind the increased risk of disease, rather than the fat or cholesterol content which so often gets the blame.
Clare Murphy, BBC News
Click to listen to the vocabulary
- the equivalent of
equal to, the same as
- increase the likelihood of
make more likely to happen
- raised the risk of
made more likely to happen
a medical condition in which a person's body is not able to control the level of sugar in the blood
- heightened risk of
likelihood or possibility of something happening
- draw some comfort from
feel better after feeling worried about something
Here, this is the name of a magazine but it also means the flow of blood around the body
chemicals used to stop food from decaying or going bad
- cholesterol content
the amount of a particular which contains a lot of fat that is found in our tissue and blood, and which is thought to be part of the cause of heart disease if there is too much of it
- gets the blame
is thought to be the reason for (something negative)