Monday, January 18, 2010

Drink OJ with Your Carcinogenic Cured Meats

A principal concern of sodium nitrite is the formation of carcinogenic nitrosamines in meats containing sodium nitrite when exposed to high temperatures. Sodium nitrite's usage is carefully regulated in the production of cured products in the United States as the concentration in finished products is limited to 200 ppm, and is usually lower. In about 1970, it was found that ascorbic acid (vitamin C), an antioxidant, inhibits nitrosamine formation. Consequently, the addition of at least 550 ppm of ascorbic acid is required in meats manufactured in the United States.

A 2007 study by Columbia University suggests a link between eating cured meats, such as bacon, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Nitrites were posited as a possible cause.

Many foods, especially cured meats such as bacon and hot dogs, use nitrates to preserve color and maintain microbial safety. Nitrate is harmless, but it can convert to nitrite (when cooked), which can form nitrosamines, a powerful cancer-causing chemical, in your body. Whenever possible, look for nitrate-free preserved meats. When you do eat foods containing nitrates, have a glass of orange juice at the same time (for instance, orange juice with your morning bacon). Vitamin C is known to inhibit the conversion to nitrosamines in your stomach.

People who eat cured meats are more likely to develop certain diseases such as lung cancer.

One serving a week, max. Bacon is too unhealthy to be consumed on a regular basis (numerous times in a short amount of time).


  1. I keep this concept in mind while eating out or at a friend's/family's house...Although, at home I try to avoid as many carcinogens as possible (ha ha, but when my hubby cooks on the grill I can't resist...thus, I head for some green leafy spinach or like you mentioned orange juice). When it comes to bacon, I definitely only eat it if the label reads: "no nitrites". I am so glad that Hormel and Oscar Myer are finally getting hip to this coming of age health concern and providing a nitrate-free version of their bacon! :-D

  2. I'm mad about Orange juices. But these days I'm trying to lose some pound so my dietician has advised me to abstain from having Orange juices. I'm asked to have Pure Noni Juice. I hope it is known to you.

    Mantis Hugo