Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Nitrites and Nitrates in Processed Meat

Don't those look natural?

 "Sodium Nitrite helps prevent the growth of Clostridium botulinum, which can cause botulism in humans and is also used alone or in conjunction with sodium nitrate as a color fixative in cured meat and poultry products (bologna, hot dogs, bacon, lunch meat). During the cooking process, nitrites combine with amines naturally present in meat to form carcinogenic N-nitroso compounds. It is also suspected that nitrites can combine with amines in the human stomach to form N-nitroso compounds. These compounds are known carcinogens and have been associated with cancer of the oral cavity, urinary bladder, esophagus, stomach and brain.
Research in Sweden found that Swedes who ate on average 3 ounces of processed meat each day had a 15 percent greater chance of developing stomach cancer than those who consumed 2 ounces or less. The Cancer Research Center of Hawaii and the University of Southern California reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (2005;97:1458-65) that they studied 190,000 people, ages 45 to 75, for seven years. Those who ate the most processed meat (bacon, ham, cold cuts) had a 68% higher risk of pancreatic cancer than those who ate the least. "Most" was defined as at least 0.6 ounce processed meat, 1 ounce beef or 0.3 ounce pork per 1,000 calories consumed. "  SupermarketGuru
That same article states that dietitians suggest to consume some sort of antioxidant such as vitamin C or vitamin E before a meal that contains a processed meat to help reduce the "possible cancer-causing effects of sodium nitrite."  It's not smart to eat something that requires you to consume an antioxidant beforehand just so your risk of cancer can be reduced.  The best thing to do it to not consume processed meats at all.  

Here is an interesting website that broke down information about hotdogs well...if you are interested in more information.

Nitrates and Nitrites in and of themselves are not dangerous.  In fact, they are found in vegetables and some drinking water.  The problem is when they are used in processed meats as a preservative.  When protein is present, they form compounds that are carcinogens.

Be aware of this hazard and cut back on processed meat.  These preservatives are dangerous for everyone especially children and pregnant women.  Interesting....kids eat the most hotdogs....

"...just this year, there was a study finding that kids who eat three or more hot dogs a week have a higher than normal rate of leukemia. Other studies found that eating hot dogs during pregnancy can increase the risk of brain tumors in the babies."  resource

Be informed.

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