Transcript: Is Bacon Good or Is Spinach Bad?
Nitrites: Harmful, harmless, or helpful?
Nitrites are preservatives added to cured meat—like bacon, ham, hot dogs—to prevent botulism, and make them pink, by combining with iron in the blood in the meat.
Everybody knows nitrites are bad for you, right?
But wait a second, didn’t I just show all this research suggesting that, in fact, the reason dark green leafy vegetables may be so healthy is that the nitrates in them turn into nitrites in our mouths? And the nitrites go on to produce nitric oxide, which is so great for our arteries. So which is it? Are nitrites good for you, or bad for you?
If nitrites are good for you, then hey—pass the bacon. If nitrites, however, are bad for you, then shouldn’t we stay the heck away from spinach?
On one hand, we have the food group widely considered to be worst possible thing you can eat— processed meat—and on the other hand, we have dark green leafy vegetables, considered the best. Yet, they are respectively being trashed and touted for the exact same reason—nitrites. It’s got to be one or the other, right?
Now, things are starting to get interesting—stay tuned.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by MaryAnn Allison.
Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.