Scientists warn that eating bacon may increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. French researchers discovered that preservative chemicals in the breakfast staple may increase the disease’s prevalence. Over a 12-year period, they tracked diets and diabetes rates in over 104,000 people.
Those who consumed the most nitrites preservatives found in sausages, ham, and salami were around 27% more likely to develop the condition than those who consumed the least. People should “limit their consumption of foods containing controversial additives, such as sodium nitrite,” according to lead author Dr Bernard Srour of Sorbonne Paris Nord University.
“These results provide a new piece of evidence regarding the need for the food industry to reduce the use of nitrite additives in processed meats,” he said. “They could support the need for better regulation of soil contamination by fertilisers.”
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Nitrites, which are found naturally in the earth as well as artificially added to processed meats and nitrogen fertilizers, have also been linked to bowel, breast, and prostate cancers, according to research. Last summer, a group of MPs and food scientists urged the government to limit the use of the chemicals in foods because consumers are “worryingly unaware of” the risks.
No10 recommends no more than 70g of processed meat per day, which is roughly one and a half rashers of bacon. Bacon has been voted the UK’s favorite sandwich filling, and the country consumes millions of sarnies each year. Type 2 diabetes affects approximately 3.8 million people in the country and can lead to fatal heart disease and stroke. It is frequently associated with being overweight or inactive.
The most recent study, published in PLOS Medicine, used data from 104,168 over-14s in France who were followed from 2009 to 2021. In online questionnaires, they were asked about their diet to determine how much nitrites and nitrates, another similar chemical, they consumed per day.
Participants were divided into three groups based on how much they ate: 3.3mg or less per day, 5.1mg or less per day, or 8.6mg or less per day. While those who consumed the most nitrites were significantly more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, nitrate consumption had no effect.