A team of experts has revealed that intake of processed meat such as sausages, bacon, and burgers might increase the risk of being diagnosed with dementia drastically. A new study has shown that consuming one rasher of bacon can shoot up the risk of developing dementia in people by 44 percent. However, meat lovers should not worry much as experts have found that some unprocessed meat such as veal, pork, and beef might be able to provide some protection from the dreaded disease. In the study, experts have shown that people who have been eating 50 grams of unprocessed meat in a day are at a 20 percent lower risk of being diagnosed with dementia. This study has been done by experts from Leeds University. Scientists have looked at data from 500000 people to establish a link between the risk of dementia and meat intake. Professor Janet Cade, who has supervised the new study, has said that exploring risk factors that are linked to dementia will help medical professionals to lessen the rate of debilitating disease. Professor Janet Cade has said that the study is the first stride towards comprehending whether foods that people eat can affect the risk of dementia. The study as well has shown a link between various kinds of meat and the risk of dementia.
The group of experts has looked at data from the UK Biobank database. This record contains genetic and health details of half a million people from the UK who are in the age range of 40 to 69 years from 2006 to 2010. The data has included details about how often people have eaten various kinds of meat-based snacks. It has included six options of meat types from never to once or more daily. Though the study has not focused on vegetarian and vegan diets particularly, it has enrolled people who do not eat red meat. The study has noted that over an average of eight years, around 2900 cases of dementia have been reported. Experts have said that more cases of dementia have been seen in people who have been economically weak, less educated, and physically inactive. These people are more likely to smoke, have a history of stroke, and a family history of dementia. These people as well are more likely to have a gene linked to dementia. The study has specifically revealed that men are at a higher risk of being diagnosed with dementia as compared to women. According to Professor Cade, some people have been at three to six times higher risk of getting dementia due to their genetic factors. However, the findings of the study have shown that the risk of dementia due to intake of processed meat has been the same regardless of people’s genetic tendency to being diagnosed with the condition. The study has found men who are less educated, more likely to smoke, and overweight or obese eat a higher amount of processed meat. Such men have a greater intake of energy, protein, and fat and do not include vegetables and fruits in their diet.
Many studies have established a link between meat intake and the risk of dementia in the past but this is the first large-scale research that has specifically shown a link between different types of meat, amounts, and the risk of developing the condition. The lead author of the study, Huifeng Zhang has said that the occurrence of dementia has been increasing across the world, and food as an adaptable factor can play a crucial role in preventing it. He has said that the findings of the study contribute to the growing body of evidence that shows a link between intake of processed meat and the huge risk of a wide range of non-transmissible ailments. As per the data, around 50 million people are dealing with dementia around the world. Nearly 10 million new cases of dementia are reported each year worldwide. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 50 to 70 percent of dementia cases and vascular dementia contributes to approximately 25 percent of cases. The growth of the disease depends on both genetic and environmental factors along with diet and lifestyle, said the authors. They have said that there is a need for further studies to confirm the findings of the large-scale research. The findings of the current study have been released in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.