Cured meats like bacon, hot dogs and cold cuts have been implicated as cancer promoters (see also here, here, here), possibly because they may contain nitrites, which turn into carcinogenic nitrosamines before consumption and when eaten in the absence of plants (see also here, here). Unfortunately, the nitrites may be a necessary addition to these processed meats to combat the threat of botulism.
Hot dogs have been found to actually be composed of less than 10% meat. All of this may help to explain why hot dog consumption has been associated with brain tumors and childhood leukemia (see also here).
Processed meats may also play a role in infertility in women and early onset puberty in girls. Processed meats may also contribute to aging, possibly by eating away at our protective DNA telomeres, or because they are high in AGEs, which are likewise thought to speed up the aging process.
Consumption of sausages that contain thyroid tissue can cause a thyroid hormone excess in consumers. COPD (obstructive diseases like emphysema) has been associated with cured meat consumption. Listeria, the third leading cause of foodborne disease related death in the US, has the ability to thrive in deli meats; the meat industry now may treat the meat with viruses to combat this bacteria.
See also the related blog posts: Adding FDA-Approved Viruses to Meat, Supreme Court case: meat industry sues to keep downed animals in food supply, Cantaloupe and Listeria: an estimated 85% of cases are from deli meats, not melons
Topic summary contributed by Denise.
To help out on the site, email email@example.com
Watch videos about processed meat
January 16, 2013
Estrogenic Cooked Meat Carcinogens
DNA-damaging chemicals formed when meat is cooked stimulate breast cancer cells almost as much as pure estrogen and can infiltrate the ducts where most breast cancers arise.
November 28, 2012
Yersinia in Pork
This week Consumer Reports released a study showing the majority of retail pork tested was contaminated with antibiotic resistant strains of the foodborne bacteria Yersinia enterocolitica.
September 4, 2012
Meat and Weight Gain in the PANACEA Study
In one of the largest nutrition studies ever, total meat consumption was significantly associated with weight gain in men and women, and the link remained even after controlling for calories.
August 8, 2012
Black Versus English Walnuts
A dramatic difference exists between the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of black walnuts versus English walnuts.
July 26, 2012
Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death
Death in America is largely a foodborne illness. Focusing on studies published just over the last year in peer-reviewed scientific medical journals, Dr. Greger offers practical advice on how best to...
June 22, 2012
Blocking the First Step of Heart Disease
By preventing the buildup of cholesterol in our blood stream, we can prevent atherosclerosis in our coronary arteries, the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women. This...
June 14, 2012
Viral Meat Spray
Bacteria-eating viruses (bacteriophages) have been approved as meat additives to reduce the risk of Listeria and Campylobacter found in processed meat and poultry products, but there is a concern...
April 27, 2012
Preventing COPD With Diet
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is now the third leading cause of death. The good news is that in addition to smoking cessation there are dietary interventions that can help prevent COPD.