In a recent study, researchers from Spain found that people with a high consumption of processed meat is worsening physical function in comparison to the people who don’t consume this type of foods. However, high consumption of red or white meats was not associated with worsening physical function.
Meat is a food with a high content of high-quality proteins, which improve muscle function, but also contains a considerable amount of saturated and trans fats, especially if in the case of processed meat.
The results suggested that the beneficial effect of quality meat proteins disappears if the meat is processed, which increases its unhealthy fats content, as well as the sodium and nitrite content, according to the researchers.
The scientists calculated the effects of replacing processed meat with other healthy foods that also provide proteins, such as fish, dairy products or nuts, and noticed that the probability of deterioration of the physical function decreases.
High consumption of processed meat worsening the physical function by 30%
The work, published in BMC Medicine, is based on the observations conducted since 2008 on about 3,300 people aged over 60.
In particular, the participants were surveyed about their socio-demographic characteristics, lifestyles, and health problems and were examined for physical function, including the walking speed, ability to get out of a chair, and ability to balance.
In addition, they were asked if they were able to carry a shopping basket, climb stairs, or walk several blocks.
At the end of the study, the researchers re-examined the participants and noted that high consumption of processed meat is worsening physical activity by 30%.
In short, meat is a good source of high-quality protein but its beneficial effect is lost in processed meat. To reduce the risk of impaired physical function, it is important to have a healthy diet, rich in fish, vegetables, and fruits, as well as in nuts and unprocessed meats.