Transcript: Prevention is Better than Cured Meat
Nitrosamines are considered the most carcinogenic (the most cancer-causing) agents in cigarette smoke.
In 2011, scientists measured the amount of nitrosamines in meat products. This is a table showing quantities of seven different preformed carcinogenic nitrosamines. So, from chicken meatballs, to pork, turkey slices, hot dogs, foie gras, and sausage, processed meats come prepackaged with carcinogens—thanks to the transformation that occurs from nitrite to nitrosamine, in the absence of phytonutrients.
How much is there in meat, compared to tobacco? The Cancer Project uses this graphic to warn consumers about the cancer risks associated with processed meat—which kind of suggests a few hot dogs may contain the carcinogenic load of a pack of cigarettes. Turns out they hit it right on the head. Filtered cigarettes have 11 times more nitrosamines and nitrosamides, but that’s per kilo. Cigarettes have less than a gram of tobacco each. Hot dogs are about 60 times heavier, and so four hot dogs has more than a pack of 20 cigarettes.
Here’s how much nitrosamine you can measure over the course of a day in someone eating ham, or sausage. And here these are two representative graphs of how much is flowing through the bodies of those eating vegetarian.
In fact, you can take people who eat smoked or canned meat, put them on a vegetarian diet, and very quickly see a drop as their body starts detoxifying itself within a day or two.
Here’s a chart of the effect of changing from a meat diet to a vegetarian diet on urinary nitrosamine levels—a reflection of what’s flowing through their bloodstreams. Looking at four different carcinogens, you can see day one and two eating meat, then vegetarian days three through five, and you can see the dramatic drop—though it doesn’t drop as low as those on the control vegetarian diet. Presumably, though, a few more days eating vegetarian, and their bodies would be able to flush out the remainder.
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 Dianne Moore.
Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.