Bacon, a beloved staple of the American breakfast table, might need a time-out alongside all its processed meat companions. Researchers have revealed that cutting out just 10 slices of bacon each week could significantly reduce deaths from cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and colorectal cancer.

According to the results of the latest study published in the Lancet Planetary Health, this small dietary change holds the potential to save thousands of lives, making it worth considering for a healthier future.

The research team from the University of Edinburgh's Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Systems along with the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill discovered that reducing processed meat consumption by around one-third -the equivalent of around 10 slices of bacon a week could prevent more than 350,000 cases of diabetes in the U.S. over 10 years. It could also lead to 92,500 fewer cardiovascular disease cases and 53,300 fewer colorectal cancer cases over a decade.

The researchers developed a simulation tool to estimate the multiple health impacts of reducing consumption of processed meat and unprocessed red meat in the U.S. They focused on identifying the impact of this dietary change on adults' risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, colorectal cancer, and death.

"Reducing consumption of both (processed and unprocessed meat) by 30 percent resulted in 1,073,400 fewer diabetes cases, 382,400 fewer cardiovascular disease cases, and 84,400 fewer colorectal cancer cases. Cutting unprocessed red meat intake alone by 30 percent – which would mean eating around one less quarter-pound beef burger a week – resulted in more than 732,000 fewer diabetes cases. It also led to 291,500 fewer cardiovascular disease cases and 32,200 fewer colorectal cancer cases," the news release stated.

Researchers noted that more disease cases were prevented by reducing unprocessed red meat compared to processed meat, partly because the average daily intake of unprocessed red meat is higher (47g per day) compared to processed meat (29g per day).

The researchers conclude that "reductions in processed meat consumption could reduce the burden of some chronic diseases in the USA." However, they caution that further research is necessary to enhance certainty in the estimated effects.

"Cutting consumption of meat has been recommended by national and international organizations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including the Climate Change Committee here in the UK and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change or IPCC. Our research finds that these changes in diets could also have significant health benefits in the US, and so this is a clear win-win for people and planet," Professor Lindsay Jaacks, a study author, said in the news release.