Expert warns of fry-up ingredients increasing risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer

Man eating a full English breakfast
-Credit: (Image: Getty)

Many Brits favour the traditional full English for their breakfast. Commonly consisting of eggs, sausages, bacon, and beans among other ingredients, it can be found in most cafes across the nation.

Sadly, despite how tasty it may be, the fry up is not considered to be particularly healthy. And now a study has specified two mainstays of the classic meal that could be putting you at risk of an early death.

Research concluded that processed meats, such as sausages and bacon, could massively increase your risk for a number of severe diseases. And while completely avoiding these foods is not practical for everyone, the study showed that cutting back just a little could have a significant impact on health.

A team, from the University of Edinburgh, worked out that cutting back processed meat intake by 30 percent was enough to see results. They determined that if Americans slashed their intake by that amount over a 10 year period it could lead to around:

  • 353,000 fewer cases of type 2 diabetes

  • 92,500 fewer cases of cardiovascular disease

  • 53,300 fewer cases of bowel cancer.

They said it could also lead to 16,700 fewer deaths from all causes. Based on data of more than 242 million adults this would be the equivalent of cutting out 10 slices of bacon each week.

As part of the study, which was published in The Lancet Planetary Health, computer modelling was utilised to simulate how cutting back on processed and unprocessed red meat to various degrees would impact public health. These findings were most significant for processed meats like bacon, hot dogs, and deli meats, but there were also benefits to limiting unprocessed red meat intake.

Professor Lindsay Jaacks, personal chair of Global Health and Nutrition at the University of Edinburgh, explained how cutting back on meat would not only help our health but the environment.

She said: “Cutting consumption of meat has been recommended by national and international organisations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including the Climate Change Committee here in the UK and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change or IPCC. Our research finds that these changes in diets could also have significant health benefits in the US, and so this is a clear win-win for people and the planet.”

Regarding unprocessed red meat, a 30 percent reduction was also estimated to prevent:

  • 732,600 cases of type 2 diabetes

  • 291,500 cases of cardiovascular disease

  • 32,200 cases of bowel cancer

  • 46,100 deaths from all causes.

The health benefits were found to be greater for men, who tend to eat more meat than women..

Findings were based on the average American eating around 29 grams of processed meat and 47g of unprocessed red meat every day. Currently the NHS advises cutting down to 70g (cooked weight) of red or processed meat a day if you eat 90g or more.