2

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What is unhealthy in processed meats?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 09, 2011 at 3:06 PM

I've read that consuming processed meats increases your risk for cancer. I bought some sausage from Whole Foods and I'm hoping someone can tell me what about it is problematic. Right now I'm looking at Atkins Ranch lamb sausage. The ingredients are: New Zealand Lamb, Sea Salt, Red Bell Pepper, Tomato, Carrot, Onion, Garlic, Green Onion, Natural Flavors (Orange, Lemon, Lime, Shallots & Yeast), Evaporated Cane Juice, Celery, Ascorbic Acid, Spices (Basil), Tartaric Acid, Citric Acid, Annatto & Canola Oil, lamb casing. Granted, it has sodium (470mg/link) and added sugar (though 0g/link of sugars)

De267f213b375efca5da07890e5efc25

(3747)

on December 09, 2011
at 11:41 PM

Thanks for the clarification. I cook my lunch and dinner meats from scratch this is just for breakfast a few times a week.

1da74185531d6d4c7182fb9ee417f97f

(10904)

on December 09, 2011
at 05:07 PM

Also "less-choice" cuts ARE paleo. Sausage is an excellent vehicle to get more connective tissue and organ meats in to your diet. I would be a lot more concerned about the "natural flavors" in the ingredients list than the meat itself.

1da74185531d6d4c7182fb9ee417f97f

(10904)

on December 09, 2011
at 05:06 PM

I actually researched these products and they are grassfed.

2d1125a5eac227aacba801bcab3bb9b8

(331)

on December 09, 2011
at 04:07 PM

Definition of natural flavor: “the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs... whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional” Source: (http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/4676616/ns/today-food/t/food-qa-just-what-natural-flavoring/)

Ef9f83cb4e1826261a44c173f733789e

(13635)

on December 09, 2011
at 03:13 PM

"Natural Flavors" <- There's the mystery.

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5 Answers

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11
A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on December 09, 2011
at 03:34 PM

First of all the evidence that processed meats are "associated" with increased cancer risk is epidemiological, and therefore not "hard" evidence. What are processed meats? Hot dogs, bologna, salami, sausage, bacon, pepperoni and Slim Jims. The average store brands have a lot of chemicals, including MSG. People who eat a lot of Slim Jims, probably drink a lot of beer and have other nasty habits. (I know, I was one of them...)

These sausages sound amazing to me. But it is probably prudent not to make any processed meats the base of your food pyramid, even if they are high quality. That said, I probably eat bacon or sausage 2-3 times per week...

De267f213b375efca5da07890e5efc25

(3747)

on December 09, 2011
at 11:41 PM

Thanks for the clarification. I cook my lunch and dinner meats from scratch this is just for breakfast a few times a week.

5
07ca188c8dac3a17f629dd87198d2098

(7970)

on December 09, 2011
at 03:28 PM

You have to read the label and judge the ingredients. Carl has identified a potential issue; the "natural flavors". Sure the could just be "(Orange, Lemon, Lime, Shallots & Yeast)", but who knows for sure.

Personally, I'd also be unhappy about the canola oil, but it's likely in a tiny amount and not worth getting too up in arms over, or at least more so than the natural flavors.

3
3a35e8bdfef3724c70dc594984b2d3d5

on December 09, 2011
at 09:37 PM

I try to stay away from anything processed, including meats. I do so primarily because of the high sodium content and also because I like to have control over what goes into my body. I bought a dehydrator and make my own fruit and veggie chips, as well as my own jerky. I highly recomment paleo/primal folks invest in a dehydrator. My kids love packing up mini trail mix baggies from the dehydrated fruit, nuts and jerky.

With regards to "natural flavoring", I recently found Bruce Bradley's blog and am recommending it to everyone I know. Mr. Bradley worked for over fifteen years as a food marketer at companies like General Mills, Pillsbury, and Nabisco. And he's sharing some pretty nasty insider secrets. So, what exactly do companies mean when they talk about "natural flavoring"? This blog post is quite eye opening.

http://www.brucebradley.com/food/processed-food-trick-or-treat/

3
64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on December 09, 2011
at 03:12 PM

I buy that brand of lamb steaks from Trader Joes and I think they're fantastic. Haven't seen or tried their sausages though they sound good to me.

2
082bf04a7486991c5e573a66f1404b3e

on December 09, 2011
at 03:50 PM

There are 2 main issues here to consider that haven't as yet been mentioned:

(1) Is the lamb grass/ silage fed? grain fed? organic or not? How likely is it that it was jacked full of growth hormone to get it more quickly and profitably to the deli counter? All these questions massively effect the presence of toxins in the meat, and the fat profile.

(2) What exactly is "New Zealand Lamb"? Typically, sausages contain all the stuff that you couldn't sell as a seperate "cut" - I'm talking eyeballs, testicles, ears and brains (in the west, at least) - all of these arent necessarily bad things, as most offal is at least as nutritious as muscle meat. But what about when you get to things like hooves? and ground up bonemeal? Are these all part of a New Zealand Lamb? I would say yes. And the nutritional profile of these are drastically different from the meat.

Conclusion: Much worse? I couldn't say for sure, but something tells me a skin-tube filled mostly with ground up bones, hooves, and less-choice cuts; from grain-fed hormone-injected sheep is not the ideal choice of "paleo meats" :)

"Whole Foods" does give the impression of lambs galavanting in green pastures, but until I see a certification, I tend to assume the worst.

1da74185531d6d4c7182fb9ee417f97f

(10904)

on December 09, 2011
at 05:07 PM

Also "less-choice" cuts ARE paleo. Sausage is an excellent vehicle to get more connective tissue and organ meats in to your diet. I would be a lot more concerned about the "natural flavors" in the ingredients list than the meat itself.

1da74185531d6d4c7182fb9ee417f97f

(10904)

on December 09, 2011
at 05:06 PM

I actually researched these products and they are grassfed.

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