Tufts University analyzed hundreds of studies and reports that eating processed meats may increase your risk of cancer. The World Health Organization (WHO) classified meat as a carcinogen (causes cancer) back in 2015. Now, scientific studies are showing compelling evidence that eating processed meats can increase your risk of colorectal and breast cancer.
Why Is Processed Meat Bad For You?
A study published in the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment found postmenopausal women had a 21% higher risk of breast cancer if they ate an average of nine or more grams of processed meat per day. A typical serving size for packaged lunch meat is 6 times this – at roughly 56 grams.
The problem here is in the processing. Processed meats like bacon, ham, sausage, and other deli meats all undergo some sort of process to preserve flavor. It can be cured, salted, smoked, fermented, or have nitrates added. Nitrates are used to prevent bacterial growth. But, when processed or cooked, nitrates can form into nitrosamines, which are classified as carcinogens.
Deli meats are also notoriously high in sodium. To put this in perspective, six thin slices of deli meat can contain roughly half of the total amount of sodium an adult needs in a day. So, say you put three slices of deli meat on your sandwich. The meat alone contains 25% of your daily sodium needs, and that doesn’t even count the bread or other toppings.
How Much Is Too Much?
I can hear you asking, ‘Ok. I LOVE deli meats. How much can I safely eat?’ Well, unfortunately, like all health questions, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ answer. But there is good news. Many forms of cancer can be avoided through healthy lifestyle choices like eating nutritious foods, getting plenty of sleep and exercise, and avoiding smoking and alcohol as much as possible. Here are some precautions you can take for your health when it comes to processed meats:
My Personal RX
In light of the research and evidence discussed in this article, here’s what I would recommend:
- Eliminate processed meats from your diet: Though it can be challenging, especially if you enjoy the taste, eliminating processed meats can significantly reduce your risk of developing certain types of cancer.
- Adopt a wholesome diet: Opt for fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Fresh, unprocessed foods are not only healthier but also rich in essential nutrients needed for optimal health.
- Stay active and get plenty of sleep: Regular physical activity and good sleep hygiene are vital for overall health and wellbeing.
- Limit alcohol and avoid smoking: Both alcohol and smoking have been linked to various forms of cancer. Reducing or avoiding them can lower your risk.
- Read food labels carefully: Keep an eye out for sodium content and avoid foods with ‘No Added Nitrates’ as they might still have natural sources of nitrates.
Additionally, to help you navigate the path to optimal health, I have a few more tools for you:
- Download a free copy of my Protocol Ebook: This 50-page step-by-step guide is designed to assist you in optimizing your health and wellbeing. It provides comprehensive information and strategies to enhance your lifestyle and diet.
- Take my Liver Support Supplement: This supplement has been specifically designed to support liver function. A healthy liver plays a crucial role in detoxifying harmful substances in your body, including potential carcinogens.
Remember, your health journey is personal and unique. The best way to approach it is by making informed decisions and understanding the importance of each step you take. Stay healthy!