Monday, June 16, 2014


When I was on holiday last week, I observed one of my friends having a handsome portion of processed meat for breakfast. He was obviously enjoying the breakfast, down with a cuppa.
Later as we were travelling, I casually mentioned that that was not a healthy breakfast and he was surprised. Why?

Well. last year, the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition, had already published their study to show that ingestion of process meat was associated with an 18 % increase in all cause mortality, a >70% increase in CV deaths and a 43% increase in cancers. It is a wonder that process meat have NOT been banned.

Well, in the latest issue of Circulation : Heart Failure, Dr Joanna Kaluza of Warsaw University of Life Sciences published her study on the Cohort of Swedish Men and their consumption of processed meat, after a 11.8yr follow-up. These were apparently healthy males between the ages of 45-79yrs, with no previous history of heart disease or heart failure

Hazard Ratios* (HR, 95% CIs) for Heart Failure Incidence and HF Mortality Over a Mean 12 Years by Processed-Red-Meat-Consumption Levels in the Cohort of Swedish Men Study 

End points                 25–49.9 g/d                  50–74.9 g/d                           > 75 g/d                     p for trend
Incident HF         1.09 (1.00–1.19)                1.09 (0.97–1.23)                1.28 (1.10–1.48)                0.01
HF mortality       1.22 (0.91–1.63)                1.42 (0.97–2.07)                2.43 (1.52–3.88)                <0 .001="" o:p="">

*Adjusted for age, education, smoking, body-mass index, total physical activity, aspirin use, supplement use, family history of MI at aged <60 alcohol="" and="" consumption="" daily="" fish="" for="" fruit="" intake="" kcal="" levels="" o:p="" products="" vegetables="" whole-grain="" years="">
They found that for every 50gm increase in processed meat consumption, there was an 8% increase in incident heart failure and a 38% increase in heart failure mortality.
Is that not worrisome?

This same group had also earlier published ( Yr 2011 ), that processed meat consumption was associated with a 23% increase in strokes after 10 years followup.

Of course the important question, is why? Is it the salt used to preserve, is it the chemicals including nitrates used, or other chemicals? We are not too sure. But the observation is true. Eating processed meat is a hazard to good health. A simple breakfast may be better.

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