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That burger is fine for your heart, researchers say. (But skip the bacon)

May 18, 2010 | 12:05 pm

Meat patty Maybe red meat has been getting a bad rap. But bacon, deli meats? They're still fair game.

In an analysis of earlier studies on the connections between meat consumption and coronary heart disease and diabetes, researchers at Harvard University have found that processed meats appear to be the villain. Red meat itself gets a pass.

Specifically, the researchers found: "Processed-meat intake was associated with 42% higher risk" of  coronary heart disease "and 19% higher risk of diabetes mellitus."

Here's the abstract of that meat study; the Harvard news release; and guidance from the American Heart Assn. on the consumption of meat, poultry and fish.

The findings were published online Monday in the journal Circulation.  The salt and preservatives in processed meat are under suspicion, not the fat.

The American Meat Institute Foundation scoffs at the findings.

-- Tami Dennis

Photo: Los Angeles Times