Everyone knows processed meats aren't the healthiest option, but we all love a lil' Jimmy Dean sausage every now and then. And anyways, they can't be that bad, can they?
Findings from a new study might make you think twice before you choose to indulge: processed meats are connected to premature mortality.
Although meat is rich in protein, iron, zinc, B-vitamins and Vitamin A, it can also contain high content of cholesterol and fatty acids. Using categories such as red meat, processed meat and white meat, researchers set out to find the correlation between meat intake and mortality.
Researchers monitored 448,568 people aged 35 to 69 years old, tracking their diet, smoking habits, physical activity and body mass index.
And what they found is nothing but bad news for sausage lovers.
First, researchers found that people who consumed high amounts of processed meats were more likely to engage in unhealthy behavior such as smoking and eating less fruits and vegetables. Men who ate more processed meats also consumed more alcohol, according to the study.
Second, when meat consumption behavior was isolated from other lifestyle choices, the study found a "moderate positive association" between mortality and high consumption of processed meats, such as ham, bacon and sausages. These deaths were primarily linked to cardiovascular diseases, but also cancer.
Researchers suggested that 3 percent of deaths could have been prevented if all participants ate less than 20 grams of processed meat per day. That's about one Jimmy Dean turkey breast sausage link.