Treat all processed meats with caution, says researcher

June 29, 2022—Strong evidence links processed meats to poor health outcomes, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer—but are all types of processed meat equally bad?

Processed poultry and fish have lower saturated fat content than beef and pork—and some types of fish contain healthful omega-3 fatty acids, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Frank Hu noted in a June 29, 2022 New York Times Ask Well column. These factors arguably make chicken lunch meat healthier than bacon, for example; however, there is no research to support this, said Hu, Fredrick J. Stare Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology and chair of the Department of Nutrition. Processing meat makes it potentially carcinogenic, and all processed meat tends to be high in sodium. Therefore, Hu advised treating all processed meats with caution and limiting consumption.

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