womens blog

How Bad Is Processed Meat For You – Really?

Joel Snape
Monday, October 8, 2018 - 10:07

The latest science Poor old red meat has a bad rep these days, and that’s partly because it gets lumped in with its more artificially enhanced brethren – bacon, cured ham, frankfurters and other types of pre-packed, processed meat. And although there are similarities between the two, there are more causes for concern when eating the processed stuff, including cooking-based carcinogens and the sodium nitrate used to preserve them. So how bad are they, really?

Newsflash: not that bad. Yes, processed meat’s been associated with an increased risk of various cancers, especially the colorectal kind, compared with red meat – but the risk is relatively small. A 50g increase in daily processed meat consumption, according to a 2011 meta-analysis, bumps your chances of cancer from about five in 1,000 to almost six – a risk you might be able to live with, or offset by eating more veg. Are there other reasons not to live on hot dogs? Well, yes…

The expert take “Apart from the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) that can form during meat processing, the big problem is that excess sugar, salt and fat such...

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