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Less Processed Meats Brings Range Of Health Benefits

3 days, 22 hours ago

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Posted on Jul 09, 2024, 4 p.m.

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh's Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Systems together with the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, have developed a simulation tool to estimate the health impacts of reducing consumption of processed meat and unprocessed red meat. They suggest that reducing consumption of processed meat by one-third could prevent over 350,000 cases of diabetes in America alone over 10 years.

The study published in The Lancet Planetary Health Journal suggests that reducing consumption of processed meats by 30% is the equivalent of around 10 slices of bacon per week. Not only could this prevent over 350,000 cases of diabetes, but it could also help to prevent tens of thousands of fewer cases of colorectal cancer (53,300) and cardiovascular disease (92,500) over a decade, according to the researchers. 

For this microsimulation, data was used from the CDC National Health Survey to create a representative sample of the American adult population to estimate the effects of reducing consumption of processed meat and unprocessed red meat from 5% to 100% on multiple health outcomes. The effects were evaluated in the overall population and they were separated based on age, sex, household income, and ethnicity. The impacts of reducing unprocessed red meat intake alone and cutting the intake of processed meats were also analyzed separately. 

The analysis revealed that White males with an annual household income between $25,000 to $55,000 experienced the greatest health benefits. Reducing consumption of both types of meat by 30% resulted in 1,073,400 fewer cases of diabetes, 382,000 fewer cases of cardiovascular disease, and 84,000 fewer cases of colorectal cancer. 

Reducing the consumption of red meat alone by 30% resulted in 732,000 fewer cases of diabetes, 291,500 fewer cases of cardiovascular disease, and 32,200 fewer cases of colorectal cancer. 

It was noted that finding more cases being prevented by reducing unprocessed red meat than processed meat is partly due to the average daily intake of unprocessed red meat being higher at 47 grams a day versus 29 grams a day of processed meats. The team also suggests that these estimates should be interpreted with caution because more research is required to determine the effects of eating unprocessed red meat on chronic disease. 

“Cutting consumption of meat has been recommended by national and international organisations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including the Climate Change Committee here in the UK and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change or IPCC. Our research finds that these changes in diets could also have significant health benefits in the US, and so this is a clear win-win for people and planet,” said Professor Lindsay Jaacks, Personal Chair of Global Health and Nutrition at the University of Edinburgh, and one of the authors of the study.

As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement. Additionally, it is not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, individual, or anyone or anything. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. 

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References/Sources/Materials provided by:

https://www.ed.ac.uk/news/2024/cuts-processed-meat-intake-bring-health-benefits

https://www.ed.ac.uk/

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2542-5196(24)00118-9

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