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Last updated at 14:13 BST, Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Sausages linked to heart disease

Summary

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.

Reporter:
Clare Murphy

Sausages

Sizzling sausages

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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

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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

diabetes

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

Circulation

Here, this is the name of a magazine but it also means the flow of blood around the body

preservatives

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)

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