This study comes a year after similar research was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, which claimed that consuming one serving of processed meat per day increased the risk of death from diseases including cancer and heart disease by about 20 percent. Frank Hu, the author of the 2012 study and a Harvard School of Public Health professor, found a 13 percent increased risk of morality from similar diseases by consuming one serving of non-processed, red meat (Source). Hu writes, "The statistics are staggering… The increased risk is really substantial" (Source).
While the new European study did not find the same risk for red meat, it did confirm the high risk of morality from ingesting processed meats. Sabine Rohrmann, the study leader and professor at University of Zurich, points to the consumption of salt, smoke, and nitrates used to preserve meats as increasing the risk of cancer. She also points to the extremely high levels of saturated fats (almost 50 percent for some salamis) as also implicit in heart disease (Source).
This warning may come as old news to some. The Harvard School of Public Health conducted as study in 2010, the results of which “found that eating processed meat, such as bacon, sausage or processed deli meats, was associated with a 42% higher risk of heart disease and a 19% higher risk of type 2 diabetes” (Source). Processed meats include any meat preserved by smoking, curing or salting, or by using chemical preservatives: for example, salami, bacon, hot dogs, and luncheon meats.
Of course, there are many, more healthful vegetarian alternatives to processed meats from flavored tempeh (fermented soybean) to coconut bacon to homemade seitan (wheat gluten) sausage. In the weeks following, I will post recipes and reviews for some of these great alternatives for more healthful living.