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Food preservatives in sausages and bacon could cause Type 2 diabetes

It is the first time the role of the dietary additives have been explored in metabolic dysfunction and Type 2 diabetes in humans.

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By Mark Waghorn via SWNS

The additives known as nitrites raise the risk of the metabolic disease. They increase the shelf life of food. The chemicals occur naturally in water and soil.

Food preservatives that give sausages and bacon their characteristic pink hue and distinctive flavor could cause Type 2 diabetes, according to new research.

Lead author Dr. Bernard Srour of Sorbonne Paris Nord University said: "These results provide a new piece of evidence in the context of current discussions regarding the need for a reduction of nitrite additives' use in processed meats by the food industry.

"They could support the need for better regulation of soil contamination by fertilizers.

"In the meantime, several public health authorities worldwide already recommend citizens to limit their consumption of foods containing controversial additives, including sodium nitrite."

Nitrites have also been linked to fueling tumors. They are found in other cured and processed meats, including ham, pates and salami.


The products are treated with nitrite or nitrate salts to keep them looking and tasting fresh.

It is the first time the role of the dietary additives have been explored in metabolic dysfunction and type 2 diabetes in humans.

The team accessed data collected from 104,168 over-14s in France who have been tracked since 2009.

The researchers found those with a higher overall intake of nitrites - specifically from food additives - had a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

There was no association with nitrates and type 2 diabetes risk.

Participants enrolled voluntarily and self-reported medical history, sociodemographic, diet, lifestyle and major health updates.

The researchers used detailed nitrite/nitrate exposure, derived from several databases and sources and then developed statistical models to analyze the information with health outcomes.

Srour said: "This is the first largescale cohort study to suggest a direct association between additives-originated nitrites and type-2 diabetes risk.

"It also corroborates previously suggested associations between total dietary nitrites and type 2 diabetes risk."

Around five million people in the UK have diabetes - with 90 percent of cases the type 2 form caused by unhealthy lifestyles.

Obesity raises the risk six-fold. The study is in PLOS Medicine.

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