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Surprising Science

When it Comes to Meat, Processed is Worse than Red

A new meta-study out of Harvard suggests that salt and chemical preservatives in meats like bacon, salami and hot dogs are worse for your health than the same amount of red meat.

What’s the Latest Development?

While eating excessive amounts of red meat is known to cause health problems, such as a higher risk of developing heart disease, it turns out that processed meats are a greater danger to your health over time. The high salt content in meats like bacon, salami and hot dogs, coupled with chemical agents used to extend their shelf life, increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease more than a similar serving size of red meat. The new conclusions were reached in a recent Harvard meta-study that analyzed 20 diet studies which included data from 1.2 million people. 

What’s the Big Idea?

The health concerns now associated with eating too much meat are a symptom of our industrialized farming system as well as our sedentary lifestyle. Throughout our evolutionary development, however, meat has been essential to our survival and it has changed our anatomy. Meat’s high protein content, for example, likely helped us grow brains three-times larger than they once were. “The pertinent questions for today are whether the diets of our evolutionary past have any bearing on our current situation and how our modern approaches to preparing and consuming meat change our health.”

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