2.5 min readBy Published On: November 6th, 2015Categories: Health and Wellness, Lifestyle0 Comments on The scoop on processed meats

From Nutritious Navigation

Last month, headlines were dominated by a recent report from the World Health Organization (WHO)’s Internal Agency for Research and Cancer that there is “convincing evidence that processed meats are a cause of colorectal cancers.”  For many years, processed meats have been linked to be potentially harmful.  With this recent WHO report, 800 studies were analyzed to come up with this conclusion and now the public is left to wonder what to make of this information.  The reasoning may be due to multiple factors related to N-nitroso compound formation or the high heme iron amounts in red meat that could damage the lining of the colon.  The exact cancer-causing mechanisms are unknown.  

Back-up, so what’s considered processed meat? Bacon, turkey bacon, sausage (chicken and turkey sausage), hot dog, beef jerky, salami, pastrami, pepperoni and cold cuts.  Processed meats may be smoked, cured, and salted.  

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, released the following statement in response to the WHO’s finding: “The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends consumers in the United States vary their daily protein choices by including lean meats, poultry and fish along with plants sources like beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds.  Consumption of processed meats like ham, bacon and hot dogs, which are often high in saturated fat and sodium, should be limited…”  

The WHO report proposed that 50 grams of processed meat (~1.8oz) increases the risk for colorectal cancer by 18% compared to eating none.  The study did not reveal a “safe amount” to eat.  

Exposure matters!  Eating a hot dog, pepperoni, or sausage every day could potentially cause a lot of harm.  However, it’s important we take a look at other lifestyle factors that are “cancer protective” to keep things in perspective:

    –    Exercising regularly
    –    Maintaining a healthy weight
    –    Including a variety of fruits and vegetables regularly  

Looking at the whole picture is important to take into account.  If you feel like processed meats may be creeping into your daily food intake frequently, take the initiative to start to build in other protein sources (poultry, eggs, fish, shellfish, etc) in place of processed meats.   Try going meatless once a week and emphasize more bean or quinoa-based dishes.  Try to avoid having processed meats on a daily basis.   These dietitians will still be enjoying charcuterie from American Provisions!  

Check out this great Q&A from the WHO.   http://www.who.int/features/qa/cancer-red-meat/en/

Healthy regards!  www.nutritiousnavigation.com