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Heart attack ahoy for processed meat scoffers

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A study has grimly concluded that men who fill their faces with more than 75g of processed meat a day are significantly more likely to suffer a fatal heart attack.

This terrifying announcement for hardcore bacon lovers is based on a 1997 examination via questionnaire of the dietary habits of 37,035 chaps from Central Sweden.

Over the next 12 years, researchers checked back in to see how their tickers were doing, and found that, after factoring in other risks such as a penchant for tobacco, and so forth, "for each 50g increase in daily consumption of processed meat the risk of HF (heart failure) incidence increased statistically significantly by 8 per cent and the risk of HF mortality by 38 per cent", as the report (PDF) puts it.

It chillingly adds: "In analysis of mortality from HF we observed that men in the highest category of processed meat consumption (≥75g/d) compared to men in the lowest category had a 2.43 time higher risk of HF death."

Interestingly, the scientists failed to find a link between heart attacks and unprocessed red meat. Lead study author Professor Alicja Wolk, of the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, explained: "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.

"Unprocessed meat is free from food additives and usually has a lower amount of sodium."

The study confirms earlier findings from a Europe-wide study which found that eating more than 20g of processed meat a day cranked up the risk of an early trip to the undertaker due to "cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and 'other causes of death'".

This is all well and good, but scientists continue to ignore the positive benefits of bacon. It's known to miraculously cure hangovers, leading us at El Reg to suggest earlier this year that a bacon/beer superdiet might offer a path to immortality. ®

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