BEIJING, March 7 (Xinhuanet) -- A major study has shown that diets laden with sausages, ham, bacon and other processed meats appear to increase the risk of dying young, according to media reports Thursday.
The study, published in the journal BMC Medicine, revealed that diets high in processed meats were linked with cardiovascular disease, cancer and early deaths.
Researchers also said that salt and chemicals used to preserve the meat may damage health.
The study followed almost 450,000 people aged 35 to 69 from 10 European countries for nearly 13 years on average.
It showed that people who ate more than 160g of processed meat a day -- roughly three sausages -- had a much greater chance of dying prematurely. The risk of dying from any cause was 44 percent greater for such people.
High processed meat consumption led to a 72 percent increased risk of dying from heart disease, and an 11 percent increased risk of dying from cancer.
The research defined a "high consumption of processed meat" as 160 or more grams per day.
"Overall, we estimate that 3% of premature deaths each year could be prevented if people ate less than 20g processed meat per day," study leader Professor Sabine Rohrmann, from the University of Zurich in Switzerland, said.
It is not the first study to point to the dangers of too much processed meat -- a major U.S. report last year said they can dramatically increase the chance of death from heart disease and cancer
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