MONDAY, April 5, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Consumption of processed red meat, but not unprocessed red meat, is associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) and death, according to a study published online March 31 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Romaina Iqbal, Ph.D., from Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan, and colleagues used data from the Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology Study (PURE; 134,297 individuals enrolled from 21 low-, middle-, and high-income countries) to assess the associations of unprocessed red meat, poultry, and processed meat intake with mortality and major CVD.

The researchers found that over 9.5 years of follow-up, there were 7,789 deaths and 6,976 CVD events. There was no significant association between higher unprocessed red meat intake (≥250 g/week versus <50 g/week) and either total mortality (hazard ratio, 0.93; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.85 to 1.02; P-trend = 0.14) or major CVD (hazard ratio, 1.01; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.92 to 1.11; P-trend = 0.72). Similarly, the investigators observed no association between poultry intake and health outcomes. However, higher intake of processed meat (≥150 g/week versus 0 g/week) was associated with higher risk of total mortality (hazard ratio, 1.51; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.08 to 2.10; P-trend = 0.009) and major CVD (hazard ratio, 1.46; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.08 to 1.98; P-trend = 0.004).

“The PURE study examines substantially more diverse populations and broad patterns of diet, enabling us to provide new evidence that distinguishes between the effects of processed and unprocessed meats,” a coauthor said in a statement.

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