A global study led by Hamilton scientists has found a link between eating processed meat and a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. The same study, however, did not find the same link with unprocessed red meat or poultry. The information comes from the diets and health outcomes of 1,34,297 people from 21 countries spanning five continents, who were tracked by researchers for data on meat consumption and cardiovascular illnesses. After following the participants for almost a decade, the researchers found consumption of 150 grams or more of processed meat a week was associated with a 46 per cent higher risk of cardiovascular disease and a 51 per cent higher risk of death than those who ate no processed meat. However, the researchers also found moderate levels of consumption of non-processed meats had a neutral effect on health. The authors believe that additional research may improve the current understanding of the relationship between meat consumption and health outcomes. For example, it is unclear what study participants with lower meat intakes were eating instead of meat, and if the quality of those foods differed between countries.