Processed meat linked to increased risk of dementia, study finds

Illustration for the article titled Processed meat linked to increased risk of dementia, according to a study

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People’s love of processed meat could come back to bite them in the long run, new research from the UK suggests. The study found a link between greater consumption of processed meat and higher rates of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. At the same time, he also found a possible link between eating unprocessed meats and a lower risk of dementia.

Processed meats such as bacon, jerky, and hot dogs do not have reputation for being healthy in the first place. Other investigations have He suggested that diets rich in these foods are linked to chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some types of cancer. Some studies even pointed to a link between processed meats and increased risk of neuropsychiatric symptoms, such as bipolar depression.

Has been Mixed evidence that a diet rich in meat it could increase a person’s risk of dementia in their later years. But according to the authors of this new study, published In The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition Monday, less work has been done to separate the possible risk of dementia from different types of meats (processed versus do not) and if genetics can influence that risk.

The study was based on population data from the UK Biobank, an ongoing research project that collects genetic and health information from around half a million residents. centuries 40 to 69, between 2006 and 2010. As part of the project, volunteers completed a questionnaire about your diet at the start of your enrollment and in regular online surveys for up to 16 months later. Due to the UK’s nationalized health system, the researchers were able to track the health outcomes of these participants, even if they developed or died of dementia.

Approximately 2,900 cases of dementia were diagnosed in the entire group, during an average follow-up of eight years.period. And when researchers tried to explain people’s diet, they found a clear association between processed meat and dementia risk, but they didn’t see the correlation when it came to other types of meat.

For example, the associated risk of dementia increased by 44% for every 25 grams of processed meat eaten per day. But no significant link was found between dementia risk and total meat consumption. or between the risk of dementia and a person’s daily chicken intake. Meanwhile, the associated risk of dementia actually decreased slightly for those who regularly ate raw red meat (cooked beef, veal, pork, etc.). The risk of dementia increased for those who carried the APOE ε4 genetic variation, as expected, but this risk was not affected by meat consumption..

“Our findings suggest that consuming processed meat may increase the risk of incident dementia, and eating raw red meat may be associated with lower risks,” the authors wrote.

Nutritional studies like this have their limitations, of course. For example, they cannot show a direct cause and effect relationship between two things, only a correlation. Studying people’s diets is difficult in general, since we are not the best at remembering what and how much of a certain food we eat regularly. And of course, a person’s diet in their 40s or 50s could change significantly between then and the time of the dementia diagnosis years or decades later.

A single study should not be viewed as the final verdict on an issue. More research will be needed to determine the potential effects of a diet high in in processed meats at our risk of dementia and how these diets may be causing it. That said, as mentioned above, this wouldn’t be the first study to link processed meats to declining health. So while the specifics still need to be worked out, it is likely that in many of our best interests we will reduce bacon or sausage anyway.

“Around the world, the prevalence of dementia is increasing and diet as a modifiable factor could play a role,” lead author Huifeng Zhang, a doctoral student at the Faculty of Food and Nutrition Sciences, said in a statement. the University of Leeds. published by the UK-based university. “Our research adds to the growing body of evidence linking processed meat consumption to an increased risk of a variety of noncommunicable diseases.”


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