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Follow Up: Are lunch meats going to give you cancer?
Here’s a quick follow up to the lunch meat post I just put up. Apparently there is some controversy about the study’s findings. If you were to ask the AMI (American Meat Institute), they’d tell you that the research is extreme and unfounded. The original study comes from the World Cancer Research Foundation’s Continuous Update Project, here, where they explain their links to meat in both pdf (page 16) and press release form.
Now, the article says “Consumers should stop buying and eating all processed meat products for the rest of their lives.” Heck, it’s even titled “Processed Meats Declared Too Dangerous for Human Consumption”. That’s a pretty extreme position. So I wanted to find some more opinions about it.
Here’s the deal:
“Sodium nitrite is a salty preservative found in processed meat that is used in the curing process to delay the development of botulism, develop a cured meat flavor, maintain the meat’s pink color and spiced flavor, and improve the overall length of storage.
Sodium nitrate is a natural antioxidant found in leafy vegetables. When digested, sodium nitrate breaks down to form sodium nitrite in the body, which has the antimicrobial properties to fight botulism. So, it is only when sodium nitrate becomes sodium nitrite that it becomes a functional preservative.
Both nitrate and nitrite, however, form nitrosamines — a known carcinogen — when mixed with protein-rich foods like meats. Nitrosamines create cell damage in the body.” -Duke Health
So, did the article use it’s own scare tactics to grab attention? Yes. Did I reblog that post because it startled me because of said language? Yes, most likely. But it is true that it’s bad for you, even in moderation, as the Duke Health lady says:
“Snyder says that even when eaten in moderation, hot dogs are a risky food. She points to research showing that eating 3.5 ounces of processed meat every day (24.5 ounces per week) increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 36 percent when compared to someone who eats no processed meat.” The people over at Livestrong say: “you can significantly lower your intake by avoiding or cutting back on processed meats, according to MayoClinic.com. Emphasize fresh poultry and fresh lean beef, but limit your servings to about 6 oz. per day.
Colorectal cancer is the 3rd most common type of cancer in the world.