You may remember from earlier this year that the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that processed meats and some red meats are “probably carcinogenic” and may cause cancer, specifically colorectal cancer.
Upon hearing this announcement, bacon lovers everywhere threw their hands up in despair! Not the bacon!
On further inspection, though, it is not quite so black and white. Yes, studies have shown that those who eat a lot of meat are at an increased risk of cancer, but there is no definitive link between any one food and cancer. As stated in a recent NPR article, “cancer is a complex disease not caused by single foods and that a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle choices are essential to good health.”
A Bit of Information on Curing Meats
Curing can mean a variety of things, but it’s most often understood as the use of nitrites and nitrates in the preserving of foods like bacon and salami. Nitrates are naturally occurring in the environment and even found in vegetables like green beans and celery as nitrogen is a crucial element in growing plants.
Tony’s Market does not cure its own foods as it is a complex process, but we do source from some of the finest meat producers in the country. Having said that, all U.S. meat producers are are closely monitored by local and national entities, with every step of the curing process inspected.
As Chef Mick Rosacci here at Tony’s Market says, “There is no need to fear USDA licensed products. We have the most stringent system in the world!”
Eat Your Bacon and Your Veggies
Dr. Katherine Peterson ND (Dr. Kat) of All Around Health LLC is a friend of Tony’s Market and agrees processed meats and red meats are fine to eat in moderation as long as you also eat a healthful, balanced diet.
“Meats, in general, get a bad rap,” Dr. Kat said. “We need to have a good source of protein to build tissue. Proteins are the building blocks to your entire body.”
She went on to explain why nitrites cause health concern for some.
“Nitrites tax the liver and are basically pro-carcinogen,” she said. “Nitrites will elevate the acidity level in your body, which changes the pH balance in the fluid surrounding cells and could promote the growth of cancerous cells.”
While this may sound a little scary, there’s good news. By eating foods that are more alkaline and full of antioxidants, such as fruits and veggies, you support your body and offset some of the work of those the nitrites.
So, there you go. You can have your veggies and your bacon!
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