Why you should avoid red and processed meats

, Food


In today’s article, I don’t have great news for the hardcore meat lovers because it is literally going to criticize about half of their favourite meats in reference with serious health problems. For a clear distinction of meats first, let’s look at what classifies as red meat and what as processed.

Red meat: Your mutton from lamb and goats, pork, beef, quail etc. is red meat. Usually any meat from mammals except fish is considered red meat. Meat from poultry animals is white meat but this doesn’t apply to duck and goose, they are red meat.

Processed meat: This is any meat, white or red that has been smoked, cured, salted, filled with chemical preservatives and then frozen to be used within its expiry date. It includes all your sausages, salamis, bacon, chorizo, pepperoni, hams, hotdogs, pastramis, corned beef etc. If you ever see how processed meat is made, you will never in your life want to eat it again, not only because of ethical and humane reasons, but also because of what all goes in it. Animals are literally thrown inside the crusher and come out in the form of paste that is later shaped into sausages and everything mentioned above. So, you end up eating everything from the skin, to fat, to bones, eyes to teeth in your processed meats. No one is surprised that WHO has explicitly declared all forms of processed meat highly cancerous.

Not just the World Health Organization, but many other respected agencies around the world including the International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified processed meat under a “definite” cause of cancer and red meat under a “probable” cause of cancer. There is such strong evidence over the years about the occurrence of bowel cancer among those who ate both processed as well as red meat frequently. There are a variety of other cancers linked to them among innumerable health problems and diseases, but bowel cancer remains the most prominent and significant where it now counts as a given.

There is still unending intensive research going on about what exactly in these meats cause cells to start becoming cancerous but in short red meats naturally consist of a chemical called haem and processed meat contain a variety of chemicals including nitrite preservatives.

Also, you probably didn’t know this, but preparing meats (white, red or processed) at high temperatures, that include barbequing and grilling increase the risk of cancers in the body very significantly due to chemical changes. This is more so in case of red and processed meat as compared to other meats. There go your barbeque plans with salamis!

This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy non-vegetarian food, you still have chicken and fish among other things, and you could use your creativity into creating many more delicious dishes with them.


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