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March 2013

Processed Meat Linked to Higher Risk of Mortality

A recent study reports that eating red and processed meat may be linked to a higher risk of mortality.

The study used data from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). 448,568 adults without cancer, stroke or heart attack were part of the analysis. Researchers examined information regarding participant diet, smoking and physical activity.

Red meat included beef, pork, horse, mutton and goat. Processed meat included ham, bacon, salami and sausages.

After about 13 years into the study, 26,344 deaths occurred. Individuals who ate 160 grams daily of processed meat were at a significantly higher risk of death compared to those who ate fewer than 20 grams daily of processed meat. In particular, processed meat increased the morality risk from heart disease and cancer. Researchers estimated that 3.3 percent of deaths were preventable if all participants consumed less than 20 grams daily of processed meat.

A significant link between red meat or poultry consumption and mortality was lacking.

For more information about diets, please visit Natural Standard's Health & Wellness Database.


  1. Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine.
  2. Rohrmann S, Overvad K, Bueno-de-Mesquita HB, et al. Meat consumption and mortality - results from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. BMC Med. 2013 Mar 7;11:63. 

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