Nitrite and processed meats…

May 24, 2012 by  
Filed under Nutrition Tips

You may have noticed that when you’re looking for your deli ham or turkey, that you can now find ‘natural’ deli meats or processed meats that contain ‘no preservatives’. Do not be fooled. Processed meats are required to be preserved with Nitrite in this Country so these ‘natural’ products just contain nitrite in a different form: Cultured Celery Extract instead of the more traditional Sodium-Nitrite to be specific.

Nitrite is actually found in abundance in many vegetables; carrots, spinach, turnips, beets, celery – but that doesn’t mean we should be avoiding these healthy foods in our diet. You see, nitrite itself is not the main concern when it comes to the carcinogenicity (cancer causing properties) of processed meats. The concern is with a chemical substance called nitrosamines which can from in meats (especially red and processed meats) when they are exposed to high and dry heat.

The bottom line? Limit your consumption of processed and red meats to no more than once or twice a week. Additionally, be sure to use cooking methods that avoid direct contact between high heat or flames with these types of products, like stewing or low heat baking instead of BBQ’ing or frying. (