Say It Isn't So! Link Between Bacon and Dementia

Do you like bacon? Your love of bacon, or other processed meats, can increase the risk for dementia. A balanced diet will reduce your risk, but it doesn't mean you shouldn't prepare for the costs and burdens of aging.

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Say It Isn't So! Link Between Bacon and Dementia
3 Min Read April 2nd, 2021

The headlines may bring a tear in the eye of bacon lovers, but bacon use may relate to a higher risk of dementia, according to research. Dementia is a leading cause of long-term health care. Your love or bacon, or other processed meats, can increase your risk for dementia. A balanced diet will reduce your risk, but it does not mean you shouldn’t be prepared for the costs and burdens of aging.

Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports that scientists in the U.K. have discovered a connection between bacon and cognitive impairment. A daily 25-g serving of processed meat -- e.g., a few pieces of bacon -- was tied to a higher risk of dementia. The study shows a 44 percent increased risk of developing dementia. 

Leeds University researchers examined the possible link between meat and dementia using data from the U.K. Biobank database, which contains genetic and health information from about half a million people aged 40-69 collected between 2006 and 2010. The information included the meat consumption and the types of meat, and the frequency. 

Red Meat Helps?

Interestingly enough, a diet that includes unprocessed red meats (like a steak) reduces the risk by about 19%. 

Dr. Simon Ridley of Alzheimer's Research U.K., quoted in the Daily Mail, said additional research is required to determine the significance of this study's research.

'The diseases that cause dementia are complex, and our risk of the condition is likely to be affected by a number of genetic and environmental factors that are not yet fully understood," Ridley said.

As always, a balanced diet is recommended.

'In the meantime, the best evidence suggests that a balanced diet can help lower the risk of Alzheimer's, as part of a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, not smoking, and keeping blood pressure and weight in check,' Ridley explained. 

Dementia Risk Increases with Age – Leading Cause of Long-Term Care

More than 5 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer's. Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia affect some 800,000 Britons, over 500,000 Canadians, and 425,000 Aussies. These numbers are predicted to double as the population ages.

Cognitive decline is a leading reason people require long-term health care services. As we get older, we face changes in our health, body, and mind. Often, since few families are prepared, loved ones are forced into the role of being a caregiver. Caregiving is physically and emotionally demanding.

Paid care services are expensive, and traditional health insurance, including Medicare, pays little for this type of care. Only Long-Term Care Insurance will pay for long-term care services, including supervision due to cognitive decline. 

The problem with Long-Term Care Insurance is you must purchase it when you are healthy. You can't wait until you have significant health changes. Experts say the best time to consider a policy is when you are in your 40s or 50s.

LTC NEWS offers a guide to Long-Term Care Insurance - click here.

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About the Author

An LTC News author focusing on long-term care and aging.

LTC News Contributor James Kelly

James Kelly

Contributor since August 21st, 2017

Editor's Note

It is tough to be a caregiver for a loved one. A caregiver's role is very stressful and demanding, no matter if it is a spouse or a parent. Can you imagine your daughter, for example, helping you in the shower, helping you use the toilet, or just getting dressed?

When you own an affordable Long-Term Care Insurance policy, you give your family the gift of time. Instead of being your caregiver, they remain your loved one. Professionals can provide care, but your family can give love.

Yes, long-term care costs drain assets and change lifestyles. Yes, long-term care is a cash flow issue. It is a significant cash flow problem. However, long-term care is also a family problem. Long-Term Care Insurance addresses both family and finances.

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