Dangers of Eating Processed Meat
Processed meat refers to meat that has been modified to improve taste or extend shelf life. Common methods of processing involve curing, salting, fermenting and smoking. The worst types of processed meats are those will high amounts of chemical preservatives which usually are sausage, bacon, hot dogs, and lunch meats which are the worst of the worst.
While we often think of processed meat in chemical terms, processing affects even organic meat. Non-GMO, chemical-free meat often undergoes mechanical processing through cutting, grinding or mixing. While mechanically processed meat remains harmless, chemically processed meat causes several problems.
Chemically processed meat contains artificial ingredients such as preservatives, colorants, flavorings and texturants. These artificial ingredients introduce unnatural substances into the human body and link to harmful side effects and health issues.
Common preservatives in chemically processed meat are sodium nitrates and sodium nitrites.
According to Mayo Clinic licensed dietician, Kathrine Zeratsky, sodium nitrate increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Artificial ingredients in chemically processed meat may cause chronic disease. The World Health Organization classifies chemically processed meats such as ham, bacon and salami as Group 1 Carcinogens (known to cause cancer). Eating any chemically processed food increases the risk of cancer, specifically colon cancer.
Beyond harmful artificial ingredients, chemically processed foods are filled with unhealthy ingredients and lack nutrients. The act of chemically processing usually adds unnecessary sugars, salts and high fructose corn syrup to meats. Chemically processed meats also lack the nutritional value found in organic meats.
Admittedly, finding organic meats without dangerous artificial ingredients, harmful preservatives and added chemicals presents a difficult challenge. ‘All natural,’ ‘free range,’ ‘pastured’ and even ‘grass fed’ are buzzwords which often leave out the reality of company practices.
To alleviate the dangers of chemically processed meats, choose organic meats. Find truly organic meats by shopping at locally-grown, grass-fed farms and doing research on the real farming practices of meat-selling companies.