They may taste good, but bacon, sausage, hot dogs and deli meats can increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes, a study found.
The study in the journal Circulation linked consumption of processed meats to a 42 percent greater risk of heart disease and a 19 percent increased risk of type 2 diabetes, Agence France-Presse reported.
"Based on our findings, eating one serving per week or less would be associated with relatively small risk," said lead author Renata Micha, a research fellow in the department of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health.
But there was good news too: No higher risk of heart disease or diabetes was noted among those who ate unprocessed red meat, such as lamb, beef or pork.
The team studied 1,600 reports involving about 1.2 million people. On average, the researchers said each 1.8 ounce daily serving of processed meat -- the equivalent of one hot dog or one to two slices of deli meats -- was linked to the greater heart disease and diabetes risk, AFP said.
In the United States, the amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol in unprocessed red and processed meats were similar, but processed meats "contained, on average, four times more sodium and 50 percent more nitrate preservatives," said Micha. "This suggests that differences in salt and preservatives, rather than fats, might explain the higher risk of heart disease and diabetes seen with processed meats, but not with unprocessed red meats," she said.