Specifically, what ingredients, additives or process changes glorious meat into carcinogenic junk food?
Nitrates/Nitrites are in contention(veggies have them too) but please chime in on them too, I'm not convinced of their safety yet...
Meat that is cured with sodium nitrate is carcinogenic because heat and digestion turns it into N-nitroso compounds (NOCs) - http://tinyurl.com/288wfa3
If you must have cured meats I suggest drinking some green tea - http://tinyurl.com/3y9zrkw
vit c is also an inhibitor - http://carcin.oxfordjournals.org/content/10/2/397.abstract
nitrite-treated and oxidized cured meat = carcinogenesis
Took all of 2 mins to find.
If you're getting processed meat that is high quality it can be a good food when in a crunch I think. For example my CrossFit trainer gets high quality turkey cold cuts. The problem is it's like $9 a pound! Why pay that much when you can just cook extra and take the leftover hunks of meat for lunch?
In addition Robb Wolf stated that the more processed a food is, the more insulin released when digesting (since your body can digest it faster.) That comment was in response to somethign like a salad vs a smoothie. Maybe it's the same ingredients but your body has to work harder to get the salad into usable parts. So possibly an issue with processed meat is that it would have a greater insulin response.
XJhues, looking at the linked study, they find no statistically sig relationship between nitrate and nitrite consumption and any cancers. They did find a stat sig relationship between NMDA intake and colorectal cancer, but not with any other of the cancers. The main sources of NDMA in the study population were smoked/salted fish, cured meats/sausages and beer, but only smoked/salted fish showed a stat sig relationship with colorectal cancer. Fresh fish did not. THey do say that previous cohort studies HAVE found stat sig relationships with beer intake and cured meat products and colorectal cancer. I don't have time today to chase down all the references though and inspect each study beyond this one but I suspect these others are also epidemiological, which means they are inherently weak and don't/can't show causation. This study only found a stastistical link with NMDA but not with nitrates or nitrites.
Ironically, they also noted that over 90 percent of nitrate intake in the study population came from vegetable intake (77 mg from all sources). So cutting meat consumption may not result in decreased nitrate intake if you end up eating more vegetables. Wheras nitrite consumption primarily from meat sources only constitued 5.3 mg. But neither were stat sig linked with cancer in the study.
Overall, interesting and something to consider and be wary of, but exact lines of causation and mechanism are still not well understood. Also, interesting, they said that due to changed processing methods, levels of NMDA vary wildly between different products and overall have been greatly reduced in recent years.
I can say right now that cured pork, chicken and turkey products have massive amounts of omega 6 which can be linked to pretty much any disease. Salted grassfed beef jerky wouldn't have anything wrong with it. It is a myth that salt is unhealthy unless it is a massive amount, but even then it doesn't have much of an effect on blood pressure.
Because the salt and the sodium nitrate added to bacon are water soluble i often soak my bacon in lots of water to detoxify them. im sure im breaking some federal law by doing this but since i own the meat i figure i have the right to detoxify my meat if i want to. i do loose most of the added smoke flavor but its very advantageous when wrapping other meat in bacon to reduce the bacon flavor. please feel free to use this trick to bring the wonderful cut of pork back into your lives with out the fear of USDA induced cancer.
Are you getting at the difference between mass-produced factory processed meats and artisanal ones? I mean like say, some coldcuts from the grocery versus jamon iberico from Spain or something? I would definitely acknowledge a difference there. I would say its back down to the simple ingredient list.
For instance with the factory-made versions you're getting all the things you listed in your question: color dyes, additional nitrates/nitrites, low-quality salt, carageenan, corn syrup, citric acid, etc.
Whereas with a better quality product, but still perhaps considered a "processed meat", you may get as few as: meat, salt, bacterial starter, etc.
I personally don't think digestion speed is that big a deal if you don't have a blood sugar problem and aren't eating tons of carb. IMO, the body is meant to have a very efficient effective rate of digestion. Ancient people did some meat processing, probably even fermentation, which is also a method of predigestion. They also did cooking, which also makes food digest faster. Many of us probably digest must faster than average already thanx to improved nutrient intake, quality of food, and gut health.
I agree with the above answers, there are so many fillers and additives. One thing that always boggled me was how come when I cook do piece of deli Ham it always shrunk to half the size. Burning off all the water solution pumped in is one reason.
I assume you are talking about Deli style meats? My opinion has always bean if its not possible for the chicken breast to be that large and so perfectly round, and the ham that pink and a rectangle from the original source it cant be good for me.