To live a long and healthy life, you should be eating no more than 20g of processed meat every day, and that equates to less than one rasher of bacon.
Salt and chemicals that are used to preserve the meat could be the culprit, say researchers from the University of Zurich. They discovered that people who every day eat 160g or more of processed meats, such as sausages, ham and cured meats, are 44 per cent less likely to be alive 12 years later than someone eating just 20g or less. Two sausages and a rasher of bacon equates to 160g, and two rashers of bacon represents around 70g.
The researchers tracked the lifestyles and health of 448,558 healthy adults who were at least 35 years old at the start of the study. During the 12 years of the study, 26,334 participants died, and there was a strong association with red meat consumption, and an even higher one for processed meat.
The researchers reckon that around 3 per cent of premature deaths could be avoided by reducing the daily consumption of processed meats to below 20g a day.
(Source: BMC Medicine, 2013; 11: 63).