Bad COP(D)

| Post published on June 2, 2007
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Scientists from Columbia University have found that people who eat lots of cured meats such bacon, ham and hot dogs, are more likely to suffer from the serious lung condition chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The researchers looked at 7,352 people and found that those who ate the most cured meats had the worse lung function. Cured meats contain high levels of compounds called nitrites, which act as preservatives and colour fixatives. Nitrites give rise to reactive nitrogen species; molecules that may cause damage to the lungs. COPD includes the inflammatory lung conditions chronic bronchitis and emphysema and is responsible for over 30,000 deaths in the UK every year. Although smoking remains the main cause of COPD this research shows that frequent cured meat consumption is associated with an increased risk for COPD.

Jiang, R., Paik, D.C., Hankinson, J.L. and Barr, R.G. 2007. Cured meat consumption, lung function, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease among United States adults. American Journal of Respiratory Critical Care Medicine. 175 (8) 798-804.

About the author
Dr. Justine Butler
I joined Viva! as a health campaigner in 2005 after graduating from Bristol University with a PhD in molecular biology. My scientific training helped me research and write numerous reports, guides and fact sheets for Viva! including Meat the Truth, Fish-Free for Life, One in Nine (breast cancer and diet) and the substantial report on the detrimental health effects of consuming dairy; White Lies. This accompanied Viva!’s report The Dark Side of Dairy which spelt out the inherent cruelty of dairy farming. We were the first UK group to take on the dairy industry in this way, and many of our supporters go vegan after reading these reports.

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