In the world of fitness and exercise, carbohydrates are of particular interest – their prime function is to provide energy. This is our fuel for exercise and healthy living. It is so important that marathon runners will ‘carbo load’ to help them run the entire 26.2 miles. That is, they over load their system with carbohydrates to take them the distance. There are still diets that reduce or even eliminate carbohydrates, many times I hear people say they are cutting down on their bread, for instance, in order to lose weight.
According to latest research they would be better to cut down on sausages, salami and bacon. These processed meats have been shown to increase our risk of various cancers and heart disease. This research was based on a study of around 450,000 people in 10 European countries, looking at their diet and health over a number of years. Eating a lot of processed meat causes 3% of premature deaths and increases the risk of dying from heart disease by 72% and cancer by 11%.
The World Cancer Fund says that by eating just 50g of processed meat (one sausage or two slices of bacon) per day can increase risk of cancer. The latest paper advises we consume around 20g of processed meat – everything in moderation. The problem with the processed meat as with processed foods in general is the high levels of salt, sugar and saturated fats.
In the UK in the 1980’s around 8% of men were considered obese and now we are looking at 17%. For women the rate has increased from 9% to 21%. For children almost 1 in 5 is considered obese. This obesity is not only the outcome of overeating but also eating too much of the wrong food. If we can reduce the amount of processed food in our diet we will probably have a healthier diet.