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Study Shows Processed and Cured Meats May Worsen Asthma Symptoms

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Of the study’s participants, younger male smokers tended to eat the most cured meat

A recent study published in Thorax Journal found that a high consumption of cured and processed meats could lead to worsened asthma symptoms. These findings come shortly after the World Health Organization added processed meats to its list of top cancer-causing agents last year.

The study monitored 971 individuals, 42 percent of whom had asthma, for the duration of seven years and found that there was a positive correlation between high intake of cured meat and worsened asthma symptoms in 20 percent of the participants, according to FoodNavigator-USA.

Ham, sausage, and dried, cured sausage were the primary sources of cured meats. “High intake” was defined as eating more than four servings of cured meat per week.

Asthma symptoms were measured by rating shortness of breath, feelings of a tight chest, and attacks of short breath at rest or during exercise on a scale of one to five.

“It should be considered that this is just one study, so others ideally in the form of randomised controlled trials are needed,” Dr. Emma Derbyshire, spokeswoman for the Meat Advisory Panel, told FoodNavigator-USA.

“In this type of observational study cause and effect relationships cannot be easily determined as many different dietary and lifestyle factors can skew study findings.”

Using obesity as a factor, the study used a novel method to estimate its role (determined by Body Mass Index) as a mediator as opposed to a confounder.

Previous research mentioned in the study indicated that the use of nitrites, the high salt content, and the saturated fat content may cause lung damage and asthma. 

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