Sodium Nitrite in Processed Meats Maybe a Silent Killer
When discussing diet, a lot of people figure they’ll make their breakfast healthier by switching from regular bacon to turkey bacon. I am usually expected to discuss how great that is, but I don’t. I usually just say is that it’s good they are reducing they’re fat intake, and that I’m glad they are not eating fast food for breakfast everyday.
What do I have against turkey bacon? Turkey bacon and other processed meats (like regular bacon, hot dogs, bologna, turkey lunch meat, corned beef and others) contain sodium nitrite. Take a look at the ingredients in the meats in your refrigerator and the canned meats in your cupboard. Most people will find sodium nitrite in abundance.
What is sodium nitrite? Sodium nitrite is a food additive used as a preservative. It is used to extend the life of meats, and to prevent the growth of bacteria. It is also used to make meat appear more appetizing. When meat gets old, it has a dull grey color. Of course, if you saw this in the grocery store, you would not buy it. That’s why retailers use sodium nitrite to color it red and keep it looking fresh. Bright red meat attracts more customers than putrid grey meat.
What’s the problem? Sodium nitrite is toxic. When you eat it, nitrosamines are formed. These dangerous compounds are highly carcinogenic. During lab studies, researchers inject these compounds into lab mice when they want to give them cancer. Clearly, this is not something we should be consuming. Although you may be consuming less fat by eating turkey products instead of red meat, you are not necessarily reducing your cancer risk In fact; cancer risk is thought to be higher in meat than other foods, not simply because of the higher saturated fat content, but because of the sodium nitrite content.
Ideally, you should switch to organic, free range meats. Yes, it’s more expensive, than processed meat, but it’s less expensive than cancer treatment. If this type of meat is cost prohibitive, you can still reduce your risk by consuming large doses of vitamin C and E before eating the sodium nitrite meal. This will hinder the conversion of sodium nitrite to the nitrosamines.
It is always best to avoid consuming harmful substances whenever possible. When that becomes impossible, make sure to nourish your body the best you can with vitamins and nutritious foods. You’ll benefit in the long run.
Copyright © 2009 by A.M. Birmingham, ISSA CFT