Tuesday, August 16, 2011

More Evidence to Avoid Red and Preserved Meats

Check out the conclusions of this report, a collaboration of the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute of Cancer Research, about the overall relationship of diet to cancer: we should limit red meat and avoid preserved meats, commonly those that contain sodium nitrite. 

The recommendation is to avoid:

  • Deli meats preserved by smoking, salt curing or with chemical preservatives like added sodium nitrite.
  • According to the review by the WCRF/AICR, limit red meat (beef, pork, lamb and goat) and deli meat to less than 18 ounces (cooked weight) or 25 ounces raw weight meat weekly. Most restaurants serve 8-16 ounces as their standard portion. Tip: 3 ounces looks like a deck of cards.

How to know:

  • Look at the labels of packaged meats.
  • At the deli counter, ask. If the person working doesn’t know, ask to speak to someone who does!
  • Sodium nitrite is most common in red meat products, not chicken or fish.
  • Ask for fresh roasted turkey or meats that have been cooked fresh and on-site.

The most common foods to watch out for:

  • Packaged deli red meats (sandwich meats) like bologna, pastrami, salami, roast beef, or ham.
  • Sliced packaged ham, sausage and bacon
  • Hot dogs
  • Beef jerky
  • Frozen meals (including frozen pizza) with meat
  • Canned foods that include meats
  • Deli sandwiches at restaurants, schools, hotels, hospitals and theme parks
The good news is that if it has a label, you can look for it to be listed. But if you’re unsure, when possible choose otherwise for your good health!

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