Hidden Ingredients & Cancer Risks
Hidden Ingredients in Processed Meats
Increases Cancer Risk
Americans consume a great deal of meat and much of it is processed meats such as ham, hot dogs, vienna sausages, and bacon. Processed meats are affordable, convenient, and keep well. However, new research shows the down side of eating processed meat. The evidence links it to colorectal cancer. For every 2 ounces of processed meat eaten each day, the risk of colorectal cancer (cancers that occur in the bowel) increases 18%. The good news is that we do not need to stop eating processed meat—we need to limit how much and how often we eat it. All things in moderation.
What you need to know about processed meats-
- Processed meat are meats that has been changed through salting, curing,fermentation, smoking or other processes.
- Common processed meat include ham, hot dogs, sausages, bologna, salami, peperroni, beef jerky, corned beef, sandwich or deli meats, and canned meat like spam and vienna sausages.
- These foods are a health risk because they contain added preservatives called nitrates and nitrites. These preservatives have been shown to cause cancer.
- Deli meats aren’t always better. Often labeled smoked, cured, salted, oven-roasted, or straight-cooked, many deli meats contain nitrate, a cancer causing preservative.
- NOT all meats are processed. Raw meats with no added flavorings or sodium broth are not processed. Two good examples are raw hamburger meat and raw chicken, frozen or unfrozen.
- Reading the ingredient list is the ONLY way to identify if a meat contains nitrates or nitrites.
Options for healthier choices for you and your family-
- Cook your own! Prepare and cook your own meat (this way you will KNOW what is in your food!). For example, cook chicken or a turkey with no added sodium broth over the weekend, and make healthy sandwiches all week.
- Choose other proteins! Proteins such as quinoa, beans, lentils, and low-fat dairy are healthy alternatives.
- Eat less! If you usually eat 2 sausages for breakfast, eat 1 instead.
- Bulk it up! Stretch out your meat by adding more beans or extra veggies.
Ready to take the first step? ONIE has a healthy, hearty, and homemade recipe for you to try. This Chicken White Bean Chili is a high protein meal without the nitrates! It only takes 30 minutes to prepare and serves 6.
From the ONIE Project Team
- Bouvard, V., Loomis, D., Guyton, K. Z., Grosse, Y., Ghissassi, F. E., Benbrahim-Tallaa, L., . . . Straif, K. (2015) Carcinogenicity of consumption of red and processed meat. The Lancet Oncology. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(15)00444-1
- World Health Organization (2015). Q & A on the carcinogencity of the consumption of red meat and processed meat. Retrieved from http://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/iarcnews/pdf/Monographs-Q&A_Vol114.pdf.