• Thu, Mar 7 2013

Bye Bye Bacon! Processed Meats Linked To Early Death

baconIt really pains me to share this information with everyone. As much as I realize that it’s salty and bad for me and obnoxiously trendy at the moment, I really love bacon. Bacon-wrapped pears are my favorite food in the whole entire universe. It’s the ultimate breakfast meat, because there is nothing that pairs better with eggs and toast. Thick cut… hickory smoked… with a hint of apple… God I love bacon. But my friends, bacon and it’s processed meat peers are really bad for you!

A study of more than half a million people in Europe has shown that diets high in processed meats like sausage, ham, and bacon increase the risk of an early death. They’re linked to cardiovascular problems and cancers.

I know that it’s not exactly shocking. I think most of us realized that these fatty, greasy meats weren’t the epitome of health. But hearing “early death” is a pretty sobering announcement.

People in the ten participating European countries who ate processed meats were also more likely to be obese and to smoke, both factors that obviously had to health-related risks. No one is suggesting that eating bacon somehow convinces people to smoke, of course. These don’t have causal links. But they do suggest that those who partake in processed meats are more likely to make questionable health-related choices all together. Doctors do note that even after adjusting for smoking, obesity, and other factors, processed meats seem to have a link to early death.

Bottom line from the UK government?  ”People who eat a lot of red and processed meat should consider cutting down.”

So I guess I should find some other way to add a little salt to my baked pears. (By the way, if anyone has any ideas, feel free to share them in the comments!)

I realize I’m not blowing anyone’s mind here. But I just couldn’t help but share the sad lament of a bacon-lover trying to say goodbye to processed meats. We always knew that this wouldn’t end well, didn’t we?

(Photo: Viktor1/Shutterstock)

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  • Eileen

    Sigh.

    I mean, there’s a part of me that says, “People who eat a lot of bacon and processed meats probably have a really unhealthy diet in addition to that!” but let’s face it, I’m really just trying to convince myself that my generally sensible diet can make up for eating this shitty but delicious food. (Part of this balanced diner breakfast!)

    Although I’ve never wrapped it around anything.

  • Matthew

    What I found particularly interesting was the difficulty the study had in identifying processed meats or lifestyle choices as the causative factor. The study also suggests that consuming a modest amount of red meat may be actually more beneficial than abstaining because of the nutrients that aren’t as readily available in other foods. Also, I vaguely remember seeing that this study/outcome applied to cured meats, so if uncured bacon is available you may be able to get your bacon fix (in moderation of course).

    Here is a nice little summary that I found particularly informative.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130306220950.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Fhealth_medicine%2Fnutrition+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Health+%26+Medicine+News+–+Nutrition%29

  • Small

    The study says a diet “high” in processed/red meats. Does that mean you need to swear off bacon forever? I don’t think so. Just don’t eat it every damn day. I have a hard time linking the one or two pieces of bacon I eat once and awhile to “early death.” Eat real food, drink water, eat lots of vegetables, move your body, and if you want to, indulge every so often.

  • kj

    Screw that. They’ll pry my bacon from my cold, (prematurely) dead hands. I eat paleo, so I’ve sworn off pretty much everything that’s fun to eat… bacon is all I’ve got left.