The conclusions of a new scientific study published today in the US shouldn’t alarm Kiwis. The study suggests processed meat may increase risk of diabetes; processed meat being defined as including bacon, salami and hot dogs. But look closely at the study’s details and the findings reveal little of relevance to New Zealanders.
Researchers used data from three large studies in the US, involving over 200,000 American health professionals. With different eating patterns in every country, findings from dietary studies do not translate easily. Kiwis eat far less processed meat than Americans. This study based its conclusions on those eating at least 45g/day; New Zealanders are eating just 23g/day on average.
Also, as with many studies of this sort, it does not show eating processed meat causes diabetes, however much is eaten.
Processed meat continues to provide protein, iron and zinc as part of a healthy balanced diet in New Zealand. Overall eating and other lifestyle habits, promoting the maintenance of a healthy body weight, remain paramount in reducing disease risk and promoting optimum health.