There is considerable debate between whether processed meat has different benefits and dangers compared to fresh meat. In other words, is a slice of ham different from a pork chop – don’t they come from the same animal? According to conventional wisdom, processed meat is considered unhealthy and people are encouraged to eat natural lean meat. Processed meat is considered unhealthy because of the process and ingredients involved in preserving it.
Preservatives Used to Process Meat
Processing meat increases the shelf life of the meat and also adds its characteristic flavour. Processed meat is preserved usually with chemical preservatives, like sodium nitrate. This gives the meat the delicious red colour and adds the characteristic flavour that we all love. Studies claim that cooking meats that have nitrates in them could lead to the production of cancer-producing compounds that are then ingested by the person. Another danger associated with increased sodium nitrate in the body is insulin-resistance that causes a steep increase in blood sugar levels.
So Should You Cut Out Processed Meats Completely?
Would that guarantee you will not get the diseases mentioned? That’s hard to say without considering the rest of your diet. If you’re consuming an unhealthy diet then while cutting out processed meat would be a good thing, it would only be a good start and nothing more. Similarly, if you are someone who does not exercise then simply cutting out the processed meat would not help you avoid lifestyle related diseases. While processed meat is considered unhealthy, poor diet and no exercise is definitely unhealthier. A fit person who eats right and exercises regularly would not think twice before eating a slice of ham but if you’re not that person, then you should look to get more natural cuts of lean meat instead.