Did you know that eating processed red meat, like an all-beef hot dog, increases the risk of developing heart failure… and eating unprocessed red meat, like a hamburger, doesn’t? Oh, you didn’t? Well, neither did I, until I read a recent study published in Circulation: Heart Failure, an American Heart Association journal. I was aware that the average “cured” hot dog could increase the risk of different cancers, especially cancer of the colon and bladder, I just didn’t know about the heart failure connection.
This new study followed 37,000 men over a 12 year period. The researchers looked at the types and amount of meats consumed and the incidence of heart failure.
Just for clarity, heart failure is not the same thing as cardiac arrest. With cardiac arrest, your heart stops beating. With heart failure your heart is not able to pump blood effectively leading to many health problems. There are any number of physical issues that can cause heart failure. Heart failure certainly leads to disability and it can also lead to death, so avoiding the development of heart failure is definitely in your best interest!
OK, back to the study – men who ate a daily average of 3 or more ounces of processed red meat – things like sausage, pepperoni, ham, salami, bacon, and hot dogs – were about 28% more likely to experience heart failure than men who ate the same amount of unprocessed red meat (including less than a daily average of 1 ounce of processed meat). Why is that? Well, it could be the extra sodium (salt) in the processed meat. It could be the nitrites and other chemicals found in processed meat. It could even be the quality of the meat used in the processed product.
So, what to do? First, pay attention to the amount of processed meat you eat in a week. If you are an adult and you eat an average of 2 hot dogs a week, you would fall into the low risk group. If you like hot dogs and you love the taste of a beef frank, try Applegate’s Uncured Organic Beef Hot Dog . It is an incredible hot dog! Speaking of organic, have you tried organic grass-fed beef yet? It’s good for you and also good for the environment. Organic meats are becoming more and more available in our local markets. If you can’t find organic look for natural grass-fed as the next best thing.
One last point – not to leave the women out – another study, just published, followed 44,000 women for 15 years and found that the women eating processed red meat developed high blood pressure , and, that this was not seen in association with eating unprocessed red meat and high blood pressure!
OK then! If you enjoy processed meats, enjoy them in moderation! Once again, be aware and use good judgment!