A new, headline-making report from the World Health Organization (WHO) should have you questioning the kinds of meat you eat… It warned this week that eating hot dogs, sausages, bacon, ham, and other processed meats raises your risk of cancer…by a lot.
But the fact is, cutting down isn’t enough. If you drill down into the details of the report you find that no amount of processed meat is safe.
The exhaustive study found that each daily 50 gram serving of processed meats raises colon cancer risk by 18%. That’s only about one hot dog or 2-3 slices of bacon. If you eat 100 grams, your risk goes up 36%.1
Eat a little processed meat and your risk goes up a little. Eat a lot and risk goes up a lot. It’s that simple.
The new WHO report places processed meats in the same category of carcinogen as cigarettes, asbestos, and arsenic.
The main culprit is an ingredient known as sodium nitrite. It’s a color fixer food makers use to make processed meats look fresh. Once it’s in your body, it turns into nitrosamines. These are known carcinogens.
Photo credit: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations 2
Here are six sensible steps you can take. Along with our recipe for delicious homemade sausage you can feel good about eating…
- Substitute non-cured meats for ham, bacon, and sausage.
- Choose meats that are grass-fed and antibiotic-free. And buy organic when possible.
- If you do eat cured meat on occasion, look for nitrite- and nitrate-free versions.
- Avoid any meat with monosodium glutamate (MSG), another dangerous chemical.
- Eat cancer-preventing vegetables and fruits at every meal. A good rule of thumb is that the more deeply colored produce is, the more cancer-preventing power it has. This means broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, spinach, and berries are all great. There’s one exception… Although it’s not colorful, research shows garlic is a powerful cancer fighter.
- Look for uncured artisanal sausages. Or make your own at home. The advantage is that they won’t have any cancer-causing curing ingredients. They do have a short shelf life, so you’ll want to buy small amounts and enjoy them within about a week.
Homemade Sausage Patties
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive or coconut oil
- 1/2 cup coarse almond meal (instead of bread crumbs)
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
- 2 pounds organic, pasture-raised ground pork (not lean)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage
- 2 large egg yolks
Cook onion in 2 tablespoons oil in a small heavy skillet over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool 10 minutes.
While onions are cooling, stir together bread crumbs and milk in a large bowl and let stand until crumbs absorb milk.
Add onions and remaining ingredients to crumb mixture and stir with a fork until blended well.
Preheat oven to 250°F.
Form sausage mixture into 3-inch patties (about 1/2 inch thick) with dampened hands and arrange on a wax-paper-lined tray. Heat remaining 1/2 teaspoon oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then cook patties in 3 batches, turning once, until browned and just cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes per batch. Drain patties briefly on paper towels as cooked, then transfer to a shallow baking pan and keep warm, covered with foil, in oven while cooking remaining batches.
The bottom line: There’s plenty of healthy, tasty food available. So why put dangerous carcinogen-loaded meats in your body?
Do you have a unique way to avoid processed meats? Tell us about it in the comments section, below.
In Good Health,
Publisher, INH Health Watch