Study suggests link between processed meat and dementia

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently reported around 50 million ‘Trusted Source’ dementia cases globally, with near 10 million new diagnoses every year.

Additionally, a new study from the University of Leeds scientists suggest a link between eating processed meat and an increased risk of developing dementia.

Their Nutritional Epidemiology Group used data from 500,000 people and discovered that consuming a 25g serving of processed meat per day is associated with a 44 per cent increased risk of developing dementia.

On the other hand, their findings also show that eating unprocessed red meat could be more protective. People who consumed 50g a day were 19 per cent less likely to develop dementia.

A University spokesperson said, Our research adds to the growing body of evidence linking processed meat consumption to increased risk of a range of non-transmissible diseases.

UK Biobank provided the data used in the research, and are a large long-term biobank study that examines in-depth genetic and health information from half a million UK participants aged 40 to 69.

The study investigated how regularly the participants consumed different kinds of meat – never to once or more daily. Although the study collected data from vegan and vegetarian participants, it did not assess the impact of these diets on dementia risks.

Huifeng Zhang, the lead researcher and a PhD student from Leeds’ School of Food Science and Nutrition, said: “Worldwide, the prevalence of dementia is increasing and diet as a modifiable factor could play a role.

“Our research adds to the growing body of evidence linking processed meat consumption to increased risk of a range of non-transmissible diseases.”

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