Health Risks of Canned Meat Products

Most Commented Posts

best canned meats

Processed meat is a hot topic these days. Study after study finds that meat, especially processed meat, poses health risks to the consumer. And it’s not just the fat content in red and processed meats that are at issue. Some of the chemicals used in processing have been linked to diabetes and heart disease.

As part of our Eating Well series, we’ll explore what this latest research means for you – as well as how often you should consume processed meat if at all.

Processed meat

Processed meats or canned meat products are meats that have been processed through salting, curing, smoking, or other processes. The most common types of processed meat or best survival foods include hot dogs, bacon, sausage, ham, and pepperoni. Many of these items are high in sodium and fat.

Hot dogs and sausages can be high in nitrates – which can cause cancer when consumed in excess – and nitrites – which have been shown to alter brain chemical activity. This has led to some products you would traditionally consider “beef” being labeled instead as “pork.” You may also see the terms “nitrate-free” or “nitrite-free.

Health hazards related to processed meat:

Processed meat includes high fat, high sodium, nitrate- and nitrate-containing meats such as hot dogs and bacon. Processed meats increase the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) by contributing to hypertension, heart disease, and stroke. Studies have associated processed meat with stomach cancer.

How often should you eat processed meat?

Eating more than one serving per week may be associated with an increased risk for some cancers. In one study following nearly 200,000 women for up to 20 years, those who ate more than a serving per day of processed meat were significantly more likely to develop colorectal cancer while those who ate no processed meat were less likely to develop it.

Do you need to avoid it completely? 

There are many conflicting reports on the impact of processed meat on human health. While some research suggests a connection to colorectal cancer, other studies suggest that the risk is decreased by eating a number of servings per week of best canned meats. And eating one serving a day or less is associated with a lower risk of developing these cancers.

Processed meats also contain sodium nitrate, which may be linked to increased blood pressure and increased risk for heart disease and stroke. A recent study found that consuming 1 serving per day of processed meat was associated with an 18% increase in risk for developing hypertension compared to those who ate no processed meat at all.

Healthy alternatives to processed meat:

  • Beef and lamb are healthy sources of protein. Replace processed meat with lean cuts of meat, using marinades and seasonings to boost the fresh taste.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and certain nuts and seeds can lower blood pressure. They also have anti-cancer properties. Omega-3s can be found in flaxseed, walnuts, chia seeds, salmon, sardines, mackerel (fresh or canned), trout (fresh or canned), herring (fresh or canned), tuna (canned light juice only), etc.
  • For heart-healthy fats, use olive oil or canola oil in place of butter or stick margarine. You can also use olive oil, canola oil, and vegetable oils in place of the shortening and lard used in baking.

Most Commented Posts

Related Posts