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Posted on July 1, 2019

Study Shows Americans’ Love for Processed Meats Isn’t Changing Despite Health Concerns

Whether it’s due to convenience, cost, or taste, a recent study shows that Americans are still eating lots of processed meats, even though they are linked to health maladies like obesity and heart disease.

Luxor Nursing and Rehabilitation at Mills Pond promotes healthy eating by limiting the amount of processed meats in the diet. Processed meats are high in sodium and other preservatives. In fact, the World Health Organization lists processed meat as a human carcinogenic

Researchers at Tufts University studied the diet data of 44,000 adults ranging from 1999 to 2016. They found that consumption of processed meats is around the same as it was two decades ago, accounting for around 25 percent of all red meat and poultry eaten every year.

The study suggests that more public health policies are needed to educate consumers on improving their diet and reducing chronic disease in this country.

“There’s still a lack of awareness around the benefits of consuming fish and the negative impacts of consuming processed meat,” study author Fang Fang Zhang told NBC News. “People may look at protein as protein, but we’re realizing increasingly that the source of protein matters.”

What Exactly is Processed Meat?

The study found that the most popular processed meats are, in order: lunch meats, sausage, hot dogs, and bacon.

The USDA considers all of these processed meats, along with poultry that’s preserved by smoking, curing, salting or chemical preservatives. 

Researchers suggest that warning labels on these type of foods could be coming, as several countries (including Australia and the United Kingdom) all passed requirements in recent years that provide warnings when foods contain certain chemicals or are high in things like sugar and fat.

What’s the Solution?

Dietitians still recommend that people limit the amount of red and processed meats they eat, and instead get protein from sources like fish, poultry, nuts, and beans.