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Jun 13, 2014 11:00 AM EDT

Hot Dogs, Salami Linked To Heart Failure In Men


Men who regularly consume hot dogs and salami may raise their risk of developing heart failure ad dying from it, according to a recent study HealthDay News reported.

Researchers found that men who ate roughly 2.6 ounces of processed red meats a day -- the equivalent of 2 or 3 slices of ham -- had a 28 percent higher risk of heart failure and more than twice the risk of death from the condition compared with men who ate less than one ounce of processed red meat daily.

Researchers expect to find similar results in a study of women. 

Processed red meats are preserved by smoking, salting or adding preservatives. They typically contain salt, nitrates, phosphates and other food additives.

"Smoked and grilled meats also contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, all of which may contribute to the increased heart failure risk," Alicja Wolk, co-author of the study and researcher from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, said in a journal news release. "Unprocessed meat is free from food additives and usually has a lower amount of [salt]."

For the study, researchers collected data from more than 37,000 men between the ages of 45 and 79.  They answered questions about their diet and lifestyle, and were followed from 1998 until they were diagnosed with heart failure, died or until the study's end in 2010.

The study participants had no history of heart failure, heart disease or cancer in the beginning of the study.

During the study, nearly 2,900 men were diagnosed with heart failure and 266 died from the condition.

Based on their findings, the risk associated with heart failure rose 8 percent with every 1.7 ounces of processed red meat consumed daily, while the risk of dying from heart failure jumped 38 percent for each increase.

However, a group representing the meat industry disagrees with the findings.

"Heart failure and cardiovascular diseases are complex conditions that appear to have a variety of factors associated with them, from genetics to lifestyle," Betsy Booren, vice president of scientific affairs at the American Meat Institute Foundation, told HealthDay News. "Attempts to link heart failure to a single type of food oversimplifies this complex disease."

She adds that the data in the study is based off single food frequency questionnaire given at the start of a 12-year period and "assumes this reflects a person's diet over the entirety of the study period."

In their study, researchers said no association was found between unprocessed red meat such as beef or pork and heart failure.

"Heart failure is one of the most common, costly and deadly cardiac conditions," Dr. Gregg Fonarow, a spokesman for the American Heart Association, told HealthDay News.

More than 800,000 new cases of heart failure is expected to occur in the United States this year, and about 50 percent of those diagnosed will die within five years.

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