Silent Killer: Processed Meat

Processed meat has been on the market for decades. It comes in many forms such as hot dogs, bologna, bacon, deli meats, and much more. Processing meat involves a multistep process. Typically, it involves salting, curing, fermentation, and smoking. Meat that is not sold fresh is considered to be processed. The issue is not with all meats necessarily, but those that have undergone considerable treatment pose many risks to your health and wellbeing.

Processed meat has been linked with diseases such as various forms of cancer and heart disease. Numerous studies prove that processed meats contain harmful chemicals that are not present in fresh market meats. Recent research studies actually prove that processed meats are carcinogenic. Carcinogenic classification entails any agent that can be potentially cancer causing.

Many individuals consume processed meats too regularly to be safe. For example, bacon and eggs for breakfast, a deli sandwich for lunch, and a porkchop for dinner can lead to a slew of health problems down the line.

Tips and hazards to look out for:
- Watch out for nitrate, nitrite, and any other ingredients that can point to the meat being cured or salted.
- Reduce your portion size of meats
- Consume processed meats less frequently
- Swap out processed meats for healthier options
- Switch your diet to be predominantly plant based 1

Those who consume a diet high in processed meats are at risk for breast cancer, stomach cancer, prostate cancer, and pancreatic cancer. As you can see, there is a big link between cancer and excessive meat consumption.

Misconception: Red vs white meat
A common misconception is that red meats may pose a greater risk than white meat. Many studies do not differentiate between red and white meat – but chemical processing is used both on red and white meat. To be on the safer side, it’s best to reduce intake of both.