There are many health risks to eating processed meat. In fact, many of the health risks associated with eating processed meats, whether it is beef, chicken, pork or fish, have more to do with what the livestock is fed than anything else. It is important to understand the risks you are taking when it comes to eating processed meats you find at the grocery store, or at most other outlets throughout the United States.
Many processed meats contain a lot of saturated fats, which have been proven to raise cholesterol, blood pressure and clog arteries. This can put you at risk for having a heart attack or other heart related disease. Red meats, in particular, tend to harbor saturated fats that when eaten too often can cause serious health problems.
Some parts of the chicken, in particular chicken skin, is another food that is high in fat. So if eaten, skinless white meat chicken should be consumed. Pork and fish are the safest options when considering saturated fats.
Added Growth Hormones
Most of the meat raised in the United States is given a growth hormone throughout their aging process. This stays in their system even through processing, and in turn is passed on to those who consume the meat. RBGH, which is the hormone given to cows, chickens and pigs, can possibly cause health problems to humans. These problems include a greater risk of cancer. In fact, studies done on animals treated with the growth hormone have shown grim outcomes in regard to heart health and brain health.
The Use of Antibiotics
Because of the health problems the growth hormone causes to the animals it is given to, it is necessary to give them antibiotics to get rid of many different kinds of illnesses, such as infections and mastitis (commonly seen in cows given the growth hormone). These antibiotics stay in the system just as RBGH does and is passed on to people who eat the processed meat. Studies have shown that because of human consumption of these meats, a resistance to certain antibiotics is a great possibility.
High in Sodium and Preservatives
Processed meats, such as bacon and lunch meat, carry all of the risks already discussed. But they also have a list of their own. Many preservatives are put into these processed foods to help make them taste better and to keep them on the shelves longer. These artificial preservatives are dangerous and so is the extremely high amounts of sodium that is regularly added.
In order to make sure you keep yourself and your family safe, consider choosing organic meats. Fish also gets pumped full of antibiotics, so don’t be fooled into thinking they are safer than other processed meats. Simply choose fish that is locally caught and is fresh, and you will lower your risk of developing health problems due to eating processed meat.