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Bacon and Sausage Sarnies Health Warning

New health warning about bacon and sausage sarnies: Preservatives in cured meats may increase risk of type 2 diabetes by more than 50%, study suggests

  • Researchers accessed data collected from over 100,000 people in France
  • Participants reported medical history and diet for the seven-year study
  • However, other experts have raised concerns about the latest findings.

Preservatives in cured meats may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes by more than half, suggests a study.

Researchers say they have found a link between nitrites – used to add color and flavor to meats like sausages and bacon – and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

The team accessed data collected from more than 100,000 people in France who had been tracked since 2009.

Researchers say they have found a link between nitrites – used to add color and flavor to meats like sausages and bacon – and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes

Researchers say they have found a link between nitrites – used to add color and flavor to meats like sausages and bacon – and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes

Participants voluntarily enrolled and reported their medical history, diet, lifestyle and key health updates, and were followed for about seven years.

What are nitrites? And how do they differ from nitrates?

Nitrites and nitrates are commonly used to cure meat and other perishables.

They are also added to meat to keep it red and add flavor.

Nitrates are also found naturally in vegetables, with the highest concentrations occurring in leafy vegetables like spinach and lettuce.

It can also enter the food chain as an environmental contaminant in water due to its use in intensive agricultural methods, livestock production and sewage discharge.

Nitrites in food (and nitrate converted to nitrite in the body) can contribute to the formation of a group of compounds known as nitrosamines, some of which are carcinogenic – that is, have the potential to cause cancer.

In 2015, the World Health Organization warned that there were significant increases in the risk of bowel cancer from eating processed meats such as bacon, which traditionally have added nitrites as they are cured.

The current acceptable daily intake of nitrates, according to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), is 3.7 milligrams per kilogram of body weight per day.

The EFSA’s acceptable daily intake for nitrites is 0.07 mg per kilogram of body weight per day.

Source: EFSA

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The analysis suggests that those who had the highest total dietary nitrite intake had a 27% greater risk of developing the reversible condition.

The scientists also found that people with the highest intake of sodium nitrite – the most important additive responsible for the characteristic color and flavor associated with cured meats – had a 53% higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The main author, Dr. Bernard Srour, Sorbonne Paris Nord University, said: “These results provide new evidence in the context of current discussions on the need to reduce the use of nitrite additives in processed meats by the food industry.

‘Meanwhile, several public health authorities around the world are already recommending that citizens limit their consumption of foods containing controversial additives, including sodium nitrite.’

The amount of nitrites people consumed from food additives in the study averaged 0.51 mg per day.

The group that consumed the most nitrites had, on average, 0.62 mg per day.

A slice of bacon contains about 0.25 mg of nitrites, according to previous research.

Approximately one in 12 adults in the UK and US has type 2 diabetes, and of these, 90% are overweight or obese.

Previous studies have shown that eating a lot of red and especially processed meat is associated with a higher risk of obesity.

However, other experts raised concerns about the latest findings and how intake of food additives was assessed.

They also cautioned that nitrites from food additives only contribute about 4 to 6% of the total nitrite intake, with the remainder coming from other sources such as drinking water.

Tom Sanders, emeritus professor of nutrition and dietetics at King’s College London, said: “The estimates were based on recalls of food intake on two separate occasions at baseline, with no further estimates over the seven-year follow-up period.

“Researchers had to guess which foods contained the various nitrite additives, the levels used in the products, and the amounts of the foods consumed.”

The Doctor. Duane Mellor, registered dietitian and senior lecturer at Aston University, said: ‘In considering the significance of these data, it is perhaps worth noting that the use of nitrites as an additive is often sodium nitrite, which is used to cure meats such as bacon. , which if someone is trying to reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes would be something that people would be encouraged to eat less of.

‘The best way to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes is to be physically active, maintain a healthy weight and eat a varied diet based on vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and fruits, along with whole grains and moderate intake of dairy and meat – especially processed meats.’

The results were published in the journal Plos Medicine.

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