According to researchers, eating processed meats will lead to your early death.
Processed meat -- that includes bacon, ham, hot dogs, sausages, salami and whatever meat bits are used in ready-to-eat deli meats -- has been found to increase your risk for cardiovascular diseases as well as certain cancers. In fact, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health found that people who regularly eat 50 grams (about 2 ounces) of processed meat -- that equals one hot dog or 1-2 slices of luncheon meats on a sandwich -- have a 42 percent greater risk of heart disease as well as a nearly 20 percent risk of developing Type 2 diabetes than people who don't eat them [source: Micha]. Additionally, researchers at the University of Zurich concluded that more than 3 percent of deaths could be prevented if we all limit our processed meat consumption to less than 20 grams per day (just about three-quarters of an ounce), which is about the size of a matchbook -- and only on a special occasion [source: Rohrmann, Abrams].
While processed meats are comparable to unprocessed meats when it comes to saturated fat and cholesterol, processed meats contain a lot more sodium -- 4 times more -- and also contain 50 percent more nitrate preservatives [source: Micha].