Can we eat Processed Meat any more?

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BBC Radio Nottingham Why does processed meat cause premature death.
Recent research seemed to prove that those who ate more than 160g or equivalent to 2 sausages and a slice of bacon, each day, were 44% more likely to die earlier than those that ate less than 20g or ½ a sausage per day.
This was widely reported in the press and media and BBC Radio Nottingham Mark Dennison Show asked me to comment on why and what then should we do about it.
What is processed meat?

Processed meat is anything that has been altered, added to and adulterated. So sausages, bacon, turkey twizzlers are obvious examples, but so is cured ham and meat and pre formed meat such as chicken, turkey and ham meat in pies and pasties. Any kind of meat that does not look like it’s original form is likely to have been adulterated in some way. It is the additives, preservatives and fillers that can cause problems for health. Some processed meat can contain additives and preservatives that are known carcinogens. For example; nitrates and phosphates found in some sausages and other meat products. These have been found to cause cancer in animal studies. Additionally, some meat products can in fact, contain very little pure meat and lots of other things such as cereal fillers, fats especially harmful saturated fats and sugars. They may also contain mechanically recovered meat, sometimes known as white slime, which can include lots of non meat substances, like bone, grisle and fat.
Does this mean we should never eat processed meat again?

No the study did show that those consuming less than 20g per day were less likely to suffer the ill effects of it’s consumption. However, 20g equates to one bacon rasher or ½ a sausage, which is just not a realistic expectation.
So how should we consume it in the future?
My recommendation, as always, is to eat it in moderation. If you eat well and healthily 80% of the time ie fish, chicken, eggs and meat with lots of fresh vegetables and a little grain, such as rice and pasta, then for other 20% we can choose to eat the not so healthy stuff, with out it necessarily causing too much long term health damage. This could mean you have a fry up only once a week.
BUT THE OLD ADAGE YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR CERTAINLY APPLIES HERE. IF YOU BUY A PACK OF SAUSAGES FOR £1 THE CHANCES ARE IT WILL CONTAIN VERY LITTLE IN THE WAY OF PURE MEAT AND NUTRITIOUS INGREDIENTS.CHOOSE YOUR PROCESSED FOOD VERY CAREFULLY!

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