Let me ask you this question now: What do you like to eat for breakfast? do you prefer Sunny Side Up kind of mornings or if you are a meat lover some eggs with sizzling sausages on the side perhaps or maybe the classic bacon lettuce and tomato sandwich to go with your coffee.
Frozen meats have become a breakfast staple for most people. You just have to take them out of the freezer, heat them up, and just like that, your breakfast is ready.
Meats are packed with micro nutrients like proteins and can be cooked within minutes, but what if I told you that this protein-rich meal can actually make you sick? It could give you cancer.
Let Me Explain: When regular meat is cured, fermented, and smoked, it undergoes several processes to be transformed into frozen meat. The processing not only improves the flavor of the meat but also extends its shelf life.
But it has several downsides that ring alarm bells but are conveniently ignored.
Nitrites: does this chemical sound familiar to you? It might remind you of your high school Chemistry lessons. Nitrite is a key player in the frozen meat industry, and this chemical is actively used to prevent bacterial growth and improve meat’s shelf life; it also makes the meat tastier and more Appetizing
There are several regulations around using nitrites in meat processing; EU legislation allows only limited use of this chemical, but the bigger question is: are those regulations followed, and just how accurate are they?
Let’s get to the math. Now, who says you can eat up to 3.7 milligrams of nitrites per kilogram of your body weight? For example, if you weigh 60 kg, you can take up to 222 milligrams of nitrites. Now, this limit can very easily be exceeded if you regularly consume frozen meats.
A study by the scientists of Queen’s University Belfast found some concerning results. The researchers conducted an experiment on the effect of a processed meat diet on mice. The meats contained nitrites and other chemicals that are used to cure bacon.
They also fed nitrite-free pork to another group of mice, and the results were shocking for the mice who ate the nitrite-containing meat.Rich bacon developed 75 percent more cancerous tumors as compared to the second group.
About 90 percent of the bacon sold in the UK is thought to contain nitrites. This chemical can significantly increase the risk of cancer if consumed on a daily basis. The W H O has already classified frozen meats as Group 1 carcinogens; note here that smoking also falls into the very same category, and there is convincing evidence that they cause cancer.
Cooking food at high temperatures kills bacteria and is generally considered safe, but when it comes to processed meat, it’s not as healthy as you might think. Because nitrites in processed meats are closely related to proteins when cooked at high temperatures, they easily form nitrous amines, and this compound causes cancer.
Nitrosamines are not the only culprit, though another carcinogen is polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are commonly found in smoked meats. Heterocyclic amines are also on the list; they are created when meat is cooked over an open flame, and all these compounds are tumor promoting and can lead to bowel, colon, and rectal cancer.
For years, processed meats have been identified as carcinogens, yet we continue to stick our fingers in our ears and carry on. Why is this? It could be our fast-paced lifestyle, or frozen meats are simply more convenient.
The pandemic boosted their consumption, and more often than not, the fact that they can cause cancer is quite easily overlooked because there are no immediate consequences, and just like smoking, you don’t get cancer if you smoke once or twice. If you eat frozen meat once in a while, you are most probably safe, but if they become an essential part of your diet, you should be concerned.