The harmfulness of the processed meat products on human healthis often discussed, but I consider that many people are not aware of the real danger of consuming such products and for their scientifically proven hazardous effects on human health. Read about which additives are used in the production of these products, and what the World Health Organization and IARChave to say about processed meat products.
Let’s start with: WHO and IARC (International Cancer Research Agency) classify Processed Meat Products in Group 1 – Cancerous for humans, and red meat is included in the category 2A – probably carcinogenic for humans. The fact that processed meat products are in the group of products/substances that are carcinogenic for humans means there is scientifically (epidemiological studies, clinical studies, observations, research …) proven correlation between the use of these products/substances and the appearance of cancer in humans. The classification of red meat in Group 2A-probably carcinogenic for humans means that there is limited evidence of epidemiological studies showing a link between the use of red meat and the onset of cancer.
Let’s continue with: additives that are used to produce processed meat and their effect on human health.
Additives that are commonly added:
Antioxidants (of course, artificially synthesized antioxidants are used), carrageenan (for texturization), enzymes, citric acid, emulsifiers, corn syrup, gelatin, hydrolyzed proteins, phosphates, propyl gallate, sodium caseinate, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite, sugars, whey, modified starch, monosodium glutamate …
Effects on human health of some of the additives in the processed meat products:
Modified starch – usually derived from genetically modified plants
Monosodium glutamate – has long been described as a carcinogenic substance, and a study also showed that it can cause headache and an increase in blood pressure and pulse.
Sodium nitrite – it is already well known that nitrites are harmful to our health and should be avoided. You should avoid sodium nitrate in your diet because it can cause harmful effects: it slows down the transport of oxygen, it can be a carcinogenic substance, its high intake during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of diabetes type 1 in the newborn, if ingested in larger amounts it can irritate all parts of the digestive system, and can damage the blood vessels.
Phosphates – if used in large quantities can irritate the stomach and cause some gastrointestinal problems.
Sodium caseinate – can cause allergic reactions in people allergic to milk proteins or lactose, its other potentially harmful effects are not proven because they have not been investigated. These are just some damaging effects on some of the additives used in the production of processed meat products. Of course, there are a lot of other additives which effect on human health is still unknown.