Ham, Bacon and Sausage Can Shorten People’s Lives

One of the largest studies ever conducted on the long-term effects of meat consumption revealed that consistently eating processed meats like bacon, ham and sausage results in “increased risk of early death.” [1. http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/11/63]

Processed Problem

Processed meats are very common in the standard North American diet, and the study linked consumption of these meats to cardiovascular disease and cancer. These meats are loaded with sodium and harmful nitrites.

Researchers initially surveyed more than 500,000 people throughout 10 different countries. The study—called the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition, or EPIC—tallied the health outcomes of 448,568 mean women who had never experienced heart attack, cancer or stroke.

Participants were gathered between 1992 and 2000, and were grouped according to smoking habits, physical activity, medical history, alcohol consumption, level of education and other possibly confounding factors. By 2009, the test group had experienced more than 26,000 total deaths.

After analyzing the causes of these deaths, researchers estimated that “3 percent of premature deaths each year could be prevented if people ate less than 20 grams of processed meat per day.” [2. http://www.alphagalileo.org/ViewItem.aspx?ItemId=129056&CultureCode=en]

Processed meats have been linked to dozens of harmful effects, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Digestive issues
  • Inability to concentrate, or “brain fog”
  • Hormone deregulation
  • Sleep problems
  • Weight-loss resistance

Poor lifestyle habits like smoking, regular alcohol use and eating too few fresh fruits and vegetables were also linked to the frequent consumption of processed meats.

The EPIC study also reviewed the effects of consuming poultry and red meat. Neither was determined to elicit the inherently negative health effects attributed to processed meats.

What’s Your Beef?

As mentioned above, red meat has developed a poor reputation somewhat unfairly over the last 50 years. These previous studies had not fully uncovered the differences between conventional red meat and grass-fed red meat.

Meat from grass-fed cattle is packed with protein, iron, zinc, vitamin A, various B vitamins and a heaping portion of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Conversely, conventionally raised cattle are fed genetically modified grains and corn that make them ill (similar to how a person would feel if abruptly switched to a diet of grass). To correct this illness, the cows are then given antibiotics. Additionally, these cattle are sometimes given recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH, or rBST) to stimulate milk production. This hormone has been linked to the development of breast, prostate, colon and lung cancers.

Unlike processed meats, grass-fed beef is not loaded with sodium and nitrites. Fortunately, naturally raised beef products are available.

Moderate consumption of naturally raised beef and organic poultry provides your body with clean, energy-efficient sources of fuel. And unlike conventional beef, these natural options do not upset the function of leptin, insulin and DHEA.

What You Can Do

Though finding grass-fed beef and other healthy food products can seem intimidating at first, your local Maximized Living wellness doctor frequently hosts events to help you easily find the foods your family deserves.

To learn more about how to choose the healthiest foods for your family, contact your nearest Maximized Living doctor, or pick up a copy of the Maximized Living Nutrition Plans.