Monday, August 22, 2011


It is obvious that in Western countries, eating process meat is common and perhaps the norm in winter. Low fat turkey, ham, bacon, bologna, etc are continental favourates.
There is a clinical, epidermiological study done in Sweden, using the Cohort of Swedish Men registry, to see the associations between the eating of processed meats and the risk of strokes. The Cohort of Swedish Men is something like the Swedish equivalent of the Framingham Study. In the Cohort of Swedish Men, this started in 1997, the population of Swedish men over the age of 47-79yrs were followed up, and given questionaires about their health and in this case, their eating habits. They were followed for 10 years, and the incidence of stroke determined. This study was led by Dr Susanna Larsson. This study was published in the August issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. They found that the eating of precessed meat carries with it a 23% increased incidence of strokes. The stroke rates were 23% higher between those who consume minimal amounts of processed meat compared to the high consumers. The strokes were mainly ischemic strokes. Of the 40,291 men in the cohort, there were 2409 strokes over 10 years.
The eating of fresh red meat as a whole, did show a slight increase risk of strokes, but the numbers were not significant.
Of course, the thoughts are on the why? Is it the salt in the process meat, being associated with hypertension? Is it the nitrites in the processed meat? Or are there other agents in the processed meats. Looks like the why has not been well worked out.
For Malaysians, the need to eat processed meats should be minimal, with so many fresh meats around us. Whether it be chicken, beef, fish or pork, we have them in abundance. Please take fresh meat, and for that matter, fesh veges and fruits, to try and reduce the blood pressure and so also strokes.

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