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Processed Meat Consumption Doubles Heart Failure Death

Update Date: Jun 12, 2014 06:14 PM EDT
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Eating processed meat may increase men's risk of heart failure, according to a new study.

New research reveals that eating meats like ham, salami, sausage, bacon and hot dogs, which are preserved through smoking, salting, curing or adding chemicals, can boost the risk of premature death from heart failure.

"Processed red meat commonly contains sodium, nitrates, phosphates and other food additives, and smoked and grilled meats also contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, all of which may contribute to the increased heart failure risk," senior author Alicja Wolk, D.M.Sc., a professor in the Division of Nutritional Epidemiology at the Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, said in a news release. "Unprocessed meat is free from food additives and usually has a lower amount of sodium."

The latest study involved 37,035 men between the ages of 45 and 79 years old. None of the participants had history of heart failure, ischemic heart disease or cancer.

Participants were asked to fill out questionnaires about their food intake and other lifestyle factors, and were followed from 1998 to the date of heart failure diagnosis, death or end of the study in 2010.

Study data revealed that 2,891 men were diagnosed and 266 died from heart failure.

The findings revealed that men who ate the most processed red meat were 28 percent more likely to die of heart failure compared to those who ate the least.

In fact, men who ate the most processed meat were twice as likely to die of heart failure compared to those who ate the least processed meat.

Researchers said the latest study support previous findings suggesting that men who ate the most red meat were 24 percent more likely to suffer heart failure compared to those who ate the least.

"To reduce your risk of heart failure and other cardiovascular diseases, we suggest avoiding processed red meat in your diet, and limiting the amount of unprocessed red meat to one to two servings per week or less," lead author Joanna Kaluza, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Human Nutrition at Warsaw University of Life Sciences in Poland, said in a news release. "Instead, eat a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, whole grain products, nuts and increase your servings of fish."

The findings were published in the journal Circulation: Heart Failure.

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