29 November 2007
Processed Meat Unsafe For Human Consumption; Cancer Experts Warn of Dietary Dangers
World cancer experts have finally declared what NewsTarget readers learned nearly four years ago: That processed meats cause cancer, and anyone seeking to avoid cancer should avoid eating all processed meats for life.
Hundreds of cancer researchers took part in a five-year project spanning more than 7,000 clinical studies and designed to document the links between diet and cancer. Their conclusion, published in the World Cancer Research Fund's report, Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective (2007), has rocked the health world with a declaration that all people should immediately stop buying and eating processed meat products and that all processed meat should be avoided for life!
Processed meats, the report explains, are simply too dangerous for human consumption. And why? Because they contain chemical additives that are known to greatly increase the risk of various cancers, including colorectal cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, leukemia, brain tumors, pancreatic cancer and many more. The report, published at this DietAndCancerReport.org website also recommends that consumers:
• Avoid all sugary soft drinks for life.
• Exercise at least 30 minutes a day.
• Get lean and fit, without becoming underweight.
• Limit consumption of ALL meats (even fresh meat).
• Breastfeed all infants for their first six months, avoiding infant formula.
Sadly, the WCRF still does not recommend that consumers use nutritional supplements to help protect themselves from cancer, indicating that the group still has a lot to learn about the role of medicinal mushrooms, sea vegetables, microalgae, Chinese herbs, rainforest herbs and superfood extracts in preventing and reversing cancer. But at least the group's recommendation that consumers now avoid all processed meat products is a huge step in the right direction. It is the first time that any internationally-recognized cancer organization has found the courage to make a partial proclaimation about the health hazards of the chemicals found in processed meat products. It's almost as big a deal as when the American Medical Association, after years of taking millions of dollars from tobacco companies, finally admitted that smoking causes lung cancer and heart disease. (A decade after the scientific evidence was irrefutable, of course, but then again, the AMA was making money off Big Tobacco by running tobacco ads in JAMA...)
What is "processed meat" exactly?
A woman asked me this question at a recent live event where I was warning the audience about the dangers of chemicals found in popular grocery products. Frankly, I was surprised to hear the question. But I've since learned that many people really don't know the difference between processed meat and non-processed meat ("fresh" meat).
Here's the difference:
Fresh meat usually has only one ingredient: The meat! Fresh meat is refrigerated and has a very short shelf life (just a few days, usually). It's usually packaged in simple wrappers, with no fancy logos or color printing.
Processed meat has many ingredients and is usually packaged for long-term shelf life. These products almost always contain sodium nitrite, the cancer-causing chemical additive that meat companies use as a color fixer to turn their meat products a bright red "fresh-looking" color. Processed meat products include:
• Beef jerky
• Deli slices
• Hot dogs
• Sandwich meat (including those served at restaurants)
• Meat "gift" products like Christmas sausages
• Meat used in canned soups
• Meat used in frozen pizza
• Meat used in kid's lunch products
• Meat used in ravioli, spaghetti or Italian pasta products
... and many more meat products.
Unless it says "NITRITE FREE" on the front label, you can bet it's made with cancer-causing sodium nitrite!
(Hint: You will only find nitrite-free meat products in two places in the grocery store: 1) In the fresh meat section where you can buy freshly-ground hamburger, for example, and 2) In the freezer, where you can find "natural" meat products that are nitrite-free.
What are the dangerous chemicals in processed meats?
Sodium nitrite is one of the most dangerous chemicals added to processed meats. Please be aware:
• You MUST read the ingredients list to find the sodium nitrite! Meat product companies do not list this ingredient on the front of the package.
• Even ORGANIC meat products and NATURAL meat products can still contain sodium nitrite. So read the labels to be sure, and avoid buying any meat product made with sodium nitrite.
• Be especially careful of food for kids! Virtually all packaged food products containing meat and marketed to children contain sodium nitrite! (Read the ingredients to protect your children.)
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a second dangerous chemical found in virtually all processed meat products. MSG is a dangerous excitotoxin linked to neurological disorders such as migraine headaches, Alzheimer's disease, loss of appetite control, obesity and many other serious health conditions. Manufacturers use MSG to add flavor to dead-tasting processed meat products.
Essentially, dead meat products look and taste dead (because they are), so meat companies use the following three ingredients to make them look fresh and taste interesting:
Sodium nitrite makes the meat look red and fresh. (But it promotes cancer.)
MSG makes the meat taste savory. (But it causes neurological disorders.)
Processed salt makes the meat taste more interesting. (But it causes nutritional problems and high blood pressure.)
On top of these three chemical additives, processed meats also contain saturated animal fat that is often contaminated with PCBs, heavy metals, pesticide residues and other dangerous substances.