Consuming a 25g Serving of Processed Meat a Day Increases Dementia Risk

Cured meat platter of traditional Spanish tapas - chorizo, salsichon, jamon serrano, lomo - erved on wooden board with olives and breadProcessed meat has previously been linked to a host of health issues, and new research shows that dementia can now be added to the list. Scientists from the University of Leeds have found an increased risk of dementia in those who consumed even small amounts of processed meat a day.

For the study, researchers used data from 500,000 people aged 40 to 69 from the UK Biobank. They discovered that consuming just 25g of processed meat a day is associated with a 44% increased risk of developing the disease. To help put this into perspective, 25g of meat is roughly the equivalent of one strip of bacon.


The findings also showed that eating some unprocessed red meat such as pork, beef, or veal could be protective against dementia. Those who consumed 50g a day were 18% less likely to develop dementia.

Among the participants in the study, 2,896 cases of dementia were reported over an average of eight years of follow-up. More men were in this group, along with participants who were generally older, less educated, less economically stable, less physically active, and more likely to smoke. They were also more likely to have a stroke history and family dementia history while being carriers of a gene that is associated with dementia.

Lead researcher Huifeng Zhang said: “Worldwide, the prevalence of dementia is increasing, and diet as a modifiable factor could play a role. Our research adds to the growing body of evidence linking processed meat consumption to increased risk of a range of non-transmissible diseases.”

Previous Studies

Dementia risk and meat consumption has been previously associated, but this is believed to be the first large-scale study of participants over time to examine a link between meat types and amounts.

With around 50 million dementia cases globally, researchers are trying to fill the gaps of knowledge about the disease to help reduce the risk. It is well known that dementia is associated with genetic and environmental factors, including diet and lifestyle, so health care providers need to suggest changes to their patients.

Author Bio

Sarah began her interest in nutritional healing at an early age. After going through health problems and becoming frustrated with the conventional ways doctors wanted to treat her illness (which were not working), she took it upon herself to find alternative treatments. This led her to revolutionize her own diet to help her get healthier and tackle her health problems. She began treating her illness by living a more balanced lifestyle through healthy food choices, exercise and other alternative medicine such as meditation. This total positive lifestyle change led her to earn a diploma in Nutritional Therapy from Health Sciences Academy in London, England. Today, Sarah enjoys helping others by teaching healthy lifestyle changes through her personal consultations and with her regular contributions to the Doctors Health Press. Also, passionate about following her dreams in life, Sarah moved to France and lived in Paris for over 5 years where she earned a certification in beadwork and embroidery from Lesage (an atelier owned by Chanel). She then went on to be a familiar face sitting front row and reporting from Paris Fashion Week. Sarah continues to practice some of the cultural ways of life she learned while in Europe. They enjoy their food, and take the time to relax and enjoy many of life’s little moments. These are life lessons she is glad to have brought back home with her.