I'm new to paleo, and reading a great deal. The general gist I get is processed meat = bad. Would that apply to deli meat from like whole foods? If I have sliced ham (especially breakfast ham) or bacon, aren't those processed? I assume it's all about the ingredients, but any info is appreciated.
Do not let the label of "processed" meat sway you. Its how the meat is raised through out its life.
The word processed can mean many different things. As there is 100% grass-fed ground beef which can be considered processed (muscle meat, organs, etc thrown into the grinder).
But in the same right, all the meat sold at McDonald's and Burger King is also processed, as many as 100 different individual cows can be found in your hamburger from there. But the meat in those burgers is DEFINITELY not grass-fed, or humanely treated, or contain the health we all seek.
So when you go to Whole Foods and buy their deli meat, just check to see how it was raised and what it was fed through out its life, that is what is important. I've never bought deli meat from Whole Foods, but I've bought grass-fed ribeyes/sirloins/strips and they were openly labeled that they were 100% grass-fed.
Hopefully you can find that info readily available from the Deli as well..
I'd also look at the ingredients. Ham at Whole Foods may have "organic" additives, but chances are a lot of them still are not good for you!
If there are additives other than salt, spices, I don't buy it! Hoping to switch soon to all pastured meats, but for now I buy the best I can get for the money I have. My meat has no added ingredients.
It's not so much how the meat has been raised.. it's more what happens to it when processed. The concerns you have read about most likely centre around sodium nitrite. Sodium nitrate is often used in processed meats. It's listed right on the label of products like bacon, pepperoni, ham etc. Some studies have linked moderate consumption of sodium nitrate with pancreatic cancer http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_nitrite
Sodium nitrate isn't really needed - it's basically there to give the meat colour. It's a chemical which turns the meat red..
The jury is still out on if it really does cause cancer.. however, I'd probably lean on the side of caution and stick to eating meat which hasn't been messed about with too much.
Should cooked food be recooked? 3 Answers
What makes processed Meat bad? 8 Answers
Eating raw irradiated beef 4 Answers