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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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August 05, 2014

Is Processed Meat Actually Bad for You?

By Mark Sisson
75 Comments

Processed MeatWhile popular media coverage of people following a Primal way of eating tends to paint us as carnivorous meat enthusiasts gorging on steaks, bacon, bun-less hotdogs, and little else without regard for quality, in truth we are far more discerning about our choices of meat. We prefer pastured pork and poultry, grass-fed and finished beef, lamb, and bison, and generally deplore the conditions of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). And many of us actively limit processed meat – sausages, bologna, lunch meats, bacon, and the like. You’ll often catch us coming down quite hard on processed meat altogether, making a point to distinguish between its health effects and those of unprocessed meat when responding to studies that lump the two together as “meat.”

And as much as we reiterate that observational studies cannot establish causation, processed meat consumption is consistently linked to poor health outcomes. Now, it could very well be that processed meat consumers tend to do other unhealthy things, like not exercise, sleep poorly, eat other processed foods, eat buns with their hot dogs and pizza dough with their pepperoni. Researchers usually try to control for at least some of those variables, but it’s impossible to cover every unhealthy aspect of a person who simply doesn’t care about their health. You can’t quantify everything. That likely explains much of the relationship between processed meat and poor health outcomes.

But let’s assume for a second that the observational studies do show causative relationships. What could be causing it?

Nitrosamines

Nitrosamines are carcinogenic compounds. In animal studies, they’re used to reliably give rodent subjects cancer. In observational studies, they’re linked to human cancers. Nitrosamines form when nitrites (a common preservative in processed meats) bond with amino acids (also found in meats); this can occur during the processing of the meat or in the stomachs of those who eat it. Since processed meats contain both nitrites and amino acids, it’s kind of a perfect storm. Case closed?

Not quite. Another excellent source of nitrates (which convert to nitrites in the body) are most of the vegetables we eat, particularly the green ones. In fact, the majority of the nitrates we consume come from vegetables – not bacon or hot dogs or head cheese (well, maybe except for that German kid I went to grade school with who ate nothing but thick slices of head cheese in between rye bread every day for lunch). Plus, the majority of the nitrosamines we’re exposed to come from endogenous formation in our stomachs, not from dietary pre-formed nitrosamines. And endogenous nitrosamine formation can occur without any processed meat at all. A meal of fish (amino acids) and greens (nitrates which commensal oral bacteria convert to nitrite), for example, could conceivably increase nitrosamine formation, but I don’t think that means fish and greens are unhealthy.

For a good look at the overall nitrite/nitrate issue, check out Chris Kresser’s great post from a couple years ago.

Poor Quality Animals

Your average salty slab of beige pseudo-meat doesn’t come from a pastured animal. Obviously. Those Oscar Mayer wieners quivering in the dusky summer light of a million American backyard barbecues? Every bite contains bits and pieces from hundreds of individual animals who never knew what it was like to walk on grass. Even in countries like Italy, whose traditionally-cured meats are famous the world over, industrial farming is replacing smaller, more intimate farming. It doesn’t matter how many traditional Mediterranean arm hairs you find in your guanciale. Unless the package mentions it, or the producer confirms it, the majority of processed meat is made from CAFO cows, pigs, and poultry who ate corn (and its oil) and soy (and its oil) centric diets and have imbalanced fatty acid ratios (more omega-6 PUFA, less saturated/monounsaturated/omega-3 PUFA). That isn’t to say that it’s terrible for you, or that you can’t mitigate the imbalance by consuming more omega-3s, but it is to say that when you eat processed meats, you’re more often than not not eating the best quality meat you can get your hands on.

Oxidized Lipids (Cholesterol and Fatty Acids)

We all know about the formation of oxidized cholesterol and oxidized fatty acids in foods cooked at high temperatures, and we all know why we should limit these whenever possible: they can be incorporated into our serum cholesterol, increasing its oxidative instability and our oxidative stress, and eventually leading to atherosclerosis. During processing, many processed meats are cooked at temperatures high enough to oxidize the lipids before they even reach your local grocery store. Things like precooked breakfast sausages, hot dogs, and Vienna sausages qualify (PDF). Processed meats like mortadella (which is baked at a low heat) and salami (which is cured but not cooked), however, are relatively free of oxidized lipids. As a general rule, the higher the polyunsaturated fat content of the meat (CAFO-fed pork and poultry are especially high in PUFA), the greater the potential for oxidized fats. Sure, overcooking fresh, unprocessed meat can oxidize the lipids, too, but you’re starting from scratch. The problem with precooked processed meats is that you’re starting from behind.

A Skewed Potassium/Sodium Ratio

In the opinion of many researchers, the potassium/sodium ratio is far more important than the absolute amount of sodium a person eats. We can see how processed meat might impact this ratio:

With a diet based on unprocessed meat, the ratio is far easier to monitor and optimize. You control the flow of salt, adding as much or as little as you want. Fresh meat itself also has a favorable potassium/sodium ratio, and the rarer you eat your meat, the more potassium-rich juices you’ll consume.

With a diet based on processed meat, a favorable ratio is difficult to maintain. For one, many processed meats arrive pre-cooked and/or with all (potassium-rich) moisture removed, which removes or destroys much of the potassium. And two, most processed meats come heavily salted, further throwing off the ratio.

Heterocyclic Amines

When meat is directly exposed to high temperature, the amino acids, sugars, and creatine within it react to form heterocyclic amines (HCA), which are mutagenic in animal studies and linked to cancer of the prostatepancreas, and colon in observational studies. Certain processed meats can have signficant amounts of HCAs, with well-done (almost burnt) bacon and sausage showing more than hot dogs, deli meat, and pepperoni, but fresh meats exposed to high heat cooking (like rotisserie chicken skin) usually have more.

And so it’s a mix of real problems and overblown threats. As you can probably see, not all of these problems are inherent to processed meat and many of them can be countered with proper precautions:

Eat fruits and vegetables, especially alongside your meats (processed or otherwise). Drink tea and coffee, eat dark chocolate, consume berries, enjoy phytonutrient-rich spices like turmeric freely and wantonly. Plant foods often contain protective compounds that inhibit carcinogen formation (like nitrosamines) in the stomach. They’re also good sources of potassium.

Treat cured meats as condiments that enhance your vegetable and fresh meat dishes, not main courses. This will allow you to use and afford high-quality cuts with better nutrient and fatty acid profiles, since you aren’t blowing through them so quickly and they’ll last longer. This will also dampen the potential health impact of poorer quality cuts if you go that route, since you’re not eating so much in one sitting.

Don’t overcook your processed meats. Don’t burn your bacon. Follow the gentle cooking techniques I recommend whenever possible (if you even need to cook them at all).

So, how much processed meat should you be eating? Eh, hard to say. A little bacon with your eggs here (okay, a lot), maybe some charcuterie there as an appetizer before a dinner party, some diced pancetta with Brussels sprouts – this is pretty typical among the crowd that reads this blog. I strongly advise against basing your diet on pepperoni, bacon, and hot dogs – even high-quality ones using grass-fed and pastured animals – but I think that goes without saying. In the end, the majority of Primal eaters are not basing their meals on processed meat.

That said, there’s really something therapeutic about an occasional plate of perfectly crispy, thick-cut bacon, isn’t there?

Thanks for reading, all. Let me know what you think about all this in the comment section.

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75 Comments on "Is Processed Meat Actually Bad for You?"

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Worldwide
Worldwide
2 years 1 month ago

There is even some research suggesting nitrates and nitrites might be beneficial for you. http://chriskresser.com/the-nitrate-and-nitrite-myth-another-reason-not-to-fear-bacon

Paleo Bon Rurgundy
2 years 1 month ago

Home made sausages are super easy to make and very economical.

Joe Bob
Joe Bob
2 years 1 month ago

I buy the home made sausages at Publix they are very good.

Mark
Mark
2 years 1 month ago

“Homemade” ………. from the grocery store. Makes sense.

Michele
2 years 1 month ago

I’ve done homemade chicken sausage and I’m working on a pork sausage recipe. Tastes better, economical, and don’t have to worry about the proccessed meat issue.

Energy!
Energy!
2 years 1 month ago

After making pork sausage once, I couldn’t believe how easy it was. Just patties, though…no tackling links! 🙂

Groktimus Primal
2 years 1 month ago

I’d say we have a meat eating reputation. Reeb0k is providing bacon to their athletes now. It’s gotten a little crazy at this point.

Nocona
Nocona
2 years 1 month ago

I mostly just eat jerky and salami as a snack once in a blue moon when on the road. Try to get the best quality bacon I can for the home.

Arryn
Arryn
2 years 1 month ago

I like 4 slices of pastured and cured bacon with my 4-egg scramble and a handful of strawberries several times per week. Sometimes a bun-less burger calls for a few slices of bacon too! Other than that, I don’t eat much other processed meats.

Jennifer L.
Jennifer L.
2 years 1 month ago
While I have always generally eaten anything and everything when it comes to meat (as a kid and an adult), I really struggle with my oldest daughter who will not willingly eat meat unless it’s either in the form of a grass-fed beef or chicken hot dog or turkey pastrami (which I feel is way too processed for kids at all, but she has two parents) She errs on the side of white/beige food if left to choose for herself most of the time. She will eat eggs, but how many eggs can one give a kid? I keep wanting… Read more »
Shary
Shary
2 years 1 month ago

Kids have all kinds of quirks when it comes to food. Most of them outgrow it. Why not let your daughter choose what she wants to eat as long as the choices are healthy ones? You can steer her in the direction of fresh, colorful fruit and vegetables, instead of the white/beige stuff, and let her skip the meat if she doesn’t want it. She may eventually decide to eat meat on her own. If she doesn’t, it isn’t the end of the world. Plenty of people thrive on a meatless diet.

Cat
Cat
2 years 1 month ago
+1 I was like this as a kid, but I honestly didn’t really outgrow it, it’s just that over time I was exposed to more meat, cooked in different ways, and I finally managed to find some that I liked. BBQ makes everything more edible for me, so that’s something to try. Also consider really increasing meat variety; I find chicken hearts very tasty and eat them in place of beef/lamb, since the nutrient profiles are similar in terms of zinc and iron. Duck is also a delicious meat that’s less commonly eaten. Paleo is really more of an elimination… Read more »
Shary
Shary
2 years 1 month ago

I’d like to add that growing kids need “filler” foods that a Paleo diet doesn’t always provide–particularly if they don’t eat much meat. Mark pointed this out in one of his articles not long ago. Perhaps you could consider allowing your daughter to eat various types of rice and white potatoes along with fruit and vegetables, both starchy and otherwise. You could do worse than letting her eat beans if she likes them and tolerates them well. They are an excellent “filler” food and are reasonably nutritious.

Jennifer L.
Jennifer L.
2 years 1 month ago
She does eat white rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and all types of winter squash as well as most other vegetables and fruits. The thing that is hard is that I try to let both of my kids pack their own lunches with a rule that they pick a protein, vegetable and fruit. We usually do left-overs for lunch at home, but when a kid will not eat chicken, beef, goat, lamb, pork or most seafood (she likes salmon!), it makes it a bit tricky to ensure she’s getting enough protein. She does not eat dairy, by choice, so that source… Read more »
Shary
Shary
2 years 1 month ago

Here’s an informative article regarding beans:

http://beaninstitute.com/health-benefits/nutritional-value-of-dry-beans/

Colleen
Colleen
2 years 1 month ago
My 5yo will routinely eat 4 eggs for breakfast. I think eggs are great and wouldn’t worry about too many. We also eat beans that we soak and cook — I think legume consumption has been around longer than widely realized and (heresy) easily part of a primal style diet. Also, my 5yo who has long eaten a wide variety of foods on a regular basis has gotten more “picky” and sometimes will not eat what had been vegetable favorites. At 10-12, I see my nieces trying foods they would never eat before. I would say this experience is quite… Read more »
Michele
2 years 1 month ago
My middle daughter is the same! For her, she will only eat any type of meat if dipped in ketchup and even that is iffy at best. Hot dogs and corned beef are her favorite but I hesitate with them. How much ketchup (even organic) should a kid eat? Meanwhile my oldest has never liked grains even when the whole family ate them and willingly eats paleo and seriously loves meat. Maybe a bit too much! They are polar opposites on the food front. My youngest is really picky with veggies but eats most meat. Meals can be frustrating to… Read more »
Clay
Clay
2 years 1 month ago
Please don’t try to force the meat issue. I was never a big meat eater and it was very easy for me to give up. I’ve been a vegetarian for 29 years now. Excellent health. For some people meat is not a big deal nor particularly satisfying, nor makes them feel very god. And beans? They’re awesome. I’m sorry, but the paleo police are just wrong on somethings. If everything the vegan, paleo, primal, vegetarian, and anti gluten purists said was true, the human race would had died out long ago. We are far more flexible and adaptable than we… Read more »
Jennifer L.
Jennifer L.
2 years 1 month ago
Yeah, it’s hard for me–I was vegetarian for most of my life and mostly in very good health. I have always been into healthy food and healthy eating. Pregnancy changed all of that (well, not the heathy eating, just the vegetarian part). After one pregnancy, I learned that I was gluten intolerant via a mouth full of aphthous ulcers and I developed gestational diabetes. I was lean, athletic and “healthy.” However, I have a super genetic predisposition to diabetes and unless I changed the way I ate (no more grains for me!) I was heading down the path of my… Read more »
Clay
Clay
2 years 1 month ago
Just ditching the hotdogs would be enough. There’s no way around it, hotdogs are just crap. My 11 year old daughter like to make glasses of my isolated whey protein powder. Just mixes it with milk. She naturally skews higher carb like her mom so I encourage any protein consumption. The Costco ON Performance Whey Chocolate is pretty tasty so it’s a really healthy snack that feels like a treat. I add a bunch of cinnamon and cayenne to mine and mix it with unsweetened coconut milk. Basically, if it’s not junk, and they seem to thrive on it, feed… Read more »
Fuzzy
Fuzzy
2 years 1 month ago

Make your own? Seriously, you can buy casings. The filing is blenderized meat and liver and spices, with sometimes a cereal filler for cheapness and consistency. Not difficult, and most fancy mixers have a grinder/sausage filler attachment.

another way
another way
2 years 1 month ago

I think you should pat yourself on the back! Kids go through phases, and their ideas and needs, sometimes, have nothing to do with ours!!

You’re paying attention to their needs as individuals, and feeding them whole foods. Congratulations, you have just won parenting… and even victory makes room for hot dogs.

victor
victor
2 years 1 month ago
My goodness, how is Mark or anyone here “forcing the meat issue”? For the last 35 years or so the meat industry has been under attack from “health experts” like Ancel Keyes and others with there baseless epidemiology based studies saying how bad meat is. People like Mark Sisson come along and site real scientific randomly controlled clinical trials that DEFEND beef without forcing anything. The fact that people who eat meat smoke more, are more obese, sleep less, exercise less, and generally are less health conscious than vegetarians has nothing to do with a paleo perspective. I have nothing… Read more »
Margaret Barnard
Margaret Barnard
2 years 1 month ago

I can recommend Applegate Organic Uncured Hot Dogs. I have been fighting Candida for years and after looking at the ingredients on most of the hot dogs on the market this one has been the best for my family.
They are organic, uncured, grass fed beef with no nitrates. We use the Bubbies Sauerkraut which has live cultures along with the hot dogs. It’s a quick meal that is nutritious. They are also lower in sodium than any other I have found,

Paleo-curious
2 years 1 month ago

I was much like this as a child, & I think it’s part of the reason I became a vegetarian for many years. For me there was a real revulsion to the texture of meat, & especially gnawing it off the bones, so when I decided I needed to add meat back into my diet, I started with homemade meatballs, soups, omelettes with diced meats & other such gentle fare. Slowly worked my way up to real meat, though I still don’t really love steak…

Also, will your daughter eat fish at all? I always prefered fish to red meat.

Julia
Julia
2 years 1 month ago
My son wouldn’t eat any thing that wasn’t chicken or mince meat until he was about 5. I expect it was because he had trouble chewing it. It still takes him half an hour to eat a tiny steak but he does. Smother it in butter and make her have 1 bite of yours, it might take a while but their tastes do change. If she eats chicken make a heap of meat balls with mince, you can hide some liver in them, freeze them and feed her them. I have had a policy that they have to try everything… Read more »
Jack Lea Mason
Jack Lea Mason
2 years 1 month ago

Timely topic. I have been wondering about liverwurst and other pre made sausage type options to get more organ meats in my diet. Anybody have any resources for organically processed viscera?

Nocona
Nocona
2 years 1 month ago

Yes. U.S. Wellness Meats. Great stuff. I buy the Braunshweiger and Liverwurst They have wonderful lamb ribs too!

Jack Lea Mason
Jack Lea Mason
2 years 1 month ago

thanks I’ll look them up

Michael C
2 years 1 month ago

I own a wine and cheese shop and I sell salami as well. I end up eating a pretty fair amount of salami. Creminelli’s does a pretty good job with their salami. It’s a bit more, but organic feed and heritage breed pigs. It’s delicious. They have mail order as well.
Michael Ruhlman has a book on charcuterie that’s pretty good, so if you are worried about what others are putting into their sausage you can always make your own.

J. Kling
J. Kling
2 years 1 month ago

Confounding variables.

People who eat processed meats tend to smoke more, exercise less, eat more cereal grains (buns and bread).

Colleen
Colleen
2 years 1 month ago

Exactly. We’ve been told they’re so bad for so long, people who want to be “healthy” stopped eating such foods routinely long ago. We now eat a lot of bacon and sausage, gently cooked. How about an article that focuses specifically on the causation. From my reading I don’t see it.

Jacob
2 years 1 month ago

Not giving up my bacon regardless of any studies. 🙂

Erica
2 years 1 month ago

I’m a vegetarian so I’m happy to avoid meats of any kind, but I am trying to get my BF to make better meat decisions and buy organic/non-processed as much as possible!

Marc
2 years 1 month ago

Mass production has screwed us up pretty good I guess 🙂

Salami/dried meats or sausage I don’t think was ever an issue when made on the farm… now… we just have to be smart.
In the same way some potatoes fried in beef tallow are simply not a no-no when it comes to a wholesome varied diet…..but look at the state they are in now 🙁

I will stick to some artisan charcuterie and a some minimally processed bacon from time to time.

Marc

Kit
Kit
2 years 1 month ago
Many of the ‘meats’ mentioned are mixed in with starch like husks and potato flour. This can cause advanced glycation end products if cooked (especially if not gently). The fat content of processed meats is good, even of not the best source, but better than denatured vegetable oils at smoking point, I reckon. Biltong, as far as I am aware, is preserved by drying and not even curing with a culture or heating. That makes it raw, albeit not fresh. I would guess processed meat with a low carbohydrate content is better than doughnuts and fizzy pop. Salami cured with… Read more »
Kit
Kit
2 years 1 month ago

That was ‘if’ not ‘of’. Also, there is a chance that mechanically recovered meat off carcasses that is regularly used for processed meats contains parts of the animal that one would not normally eat, thereby varying the diet. Traditionally muscle meat was not so commonly eaten, as a percentage of dead things.

Kathy
2 years 1 month ago
I’m amazed at the good timing of this article. Just today, I was researching on nitrates and the additives to bacon. I’m on the Auto-immune Paleo Approach to heal leaky gut. I ate some bacon the other day with nitrates and spices. I don’t know if it was the spices or the nitrates or some other preservative, but it flared all my auto-immune symptoms after I ate it. I’m seriously considering never eating bacon again and it’s one of my favourite foods. This article gave me great perspective. I think I may try it at a later stage when my… Read more »
JoanieL
JoanieL
2 years 1 month ago

I won’t ever give up meat in tube form. But it’s a treat, not a mainstay.

Grace
Grace
2 years 1 month ago

Thank you, Mark. You’ve become an excellent writer with just the right tone: educational but not pedantic; thoughtful, non-judging, thorough, well-researched, and with a sprinkling of good humor. I appreciate your blog. I came across it about three years ago and it changed my life. Thanks for your work!

Martha
Martha
2 years 1 month ago

Brains.

Michele
2 years 1 month ago

For processed meats I stick to the organic/grassfed kind and I don’t know how much healthier they are than the bigger brands, but they somehow TASTE and FEEL healthier, possibly because there’s less salt and chemicals? Not sure. U.S. wellness meats makes the best tasting bacon in my opinion (with the best rendered fat) and theirs is just pork and sea salt.

Dave
Dave
2 years 1 month ago

So what’s the answer? How bad is processed meat? For that matter, what constitutes “processing”? Is ground beef processed? Fresh sausage?

Oscar
Oscar
2 years 1 month ago

Every meat with chemicals added is processed, even sodium!
So it is hard if not impossible to be 100% primal, I guess.

Dave
Dave
2 years 1 month ago

OK, so “grass-fed beef” = wholesome goodness, but “grass-fed beef with salt” = unwholesome.

victor
victor
2 years 1 month ago

Mark’s article mentions how the sodium/potassium ratio we get in unprocessed beef is more important than the amount of salt we have.

meepster
meepster
2 years 1 month ago

My personal n=1 experiment is that some processed meats give me serious acne. Not all, but enough of them that I generally stay away from processed meats except as a special treat. I don’t know what’s in them that’s doing this, and I don’t particularly care – all I know is that something in them really is doing something bad to my body, so processed meats can’t be terribly good for me.

Jack Lea Mason
Jack Lea Mason
2 years 1 month ago

We recently served bratwurst to a bunch of kids who are picky eaters. To my surprise they cleaned me out of my homemade, cold fermented sauerkraut instead of the familiar brand red and yellow factory condiments. It was almost like they unanimously understood the SAD condiments are for corn dogs. Quality tube steaks and fermented vegetables go so well together, I’m willing to bet the lactobacilli in probiotic vegetables could negate any ill effects of the Maillard reaction may have on cooked meats.

Jack
Jack
2 years 1 month ago

“moisture removed, which removes or destroys much of the potassium.”

What exactly is meant with potassium being destroyed?

John
John
2 years 1 month ago
Unless you have a nuclear reactor in your kitchen, you can’t destroy potassium. I’m not sure what Mark meant, but to change the balance (if it is just the elemental potassium/sodium balance), you’d have to either do something to remove the potassium from the food in question, or bind it up to make it bio-unavailable. He also comments that many foods arrive with much of the (potassium rich) water removed. Why is the water rich in potassium but not sodium? Does removing the water really change the balance? (Reference to that claim would be useful.) And the comment that processed… Read more »
Keith
Keith
2 years 1 month ago

The one processed meat I can’t seem to give up is keilbasa. I never eat it alone. More often than not it’s diced into a fry up of cabbage, onions, tomatoes and lots of spices. As Mark says, it’s more of a condiment. The local pork sausage I buy is miraculously low fat. I know it’s not grass fed. The low fat content is an advantage for limiting PUFAs. I often have to add bacon grease, grass-fed butter or coconut oil when I fry it up with my eggs. Beats that Jimmy Dean grease pooled slag.

Paleo-curious
2 years 1 month ago

That reminds me– I used to think that I absolutely couldn’t digest beef– it would sit in my stomach like a lump of lead– but I found I could tolerate corned beef & cabbage, & I always wondered if it was the curing/cooking or the cabbage that was the secret.

victor
victor
2 years 1 month ago

How did the beef come out? Never heard of chunks of beef in people’s stools.

Paleo-curious
2 years 1 month ago

Haha, no it wasn’t quite that bad, but it would give me a stomach-ache for days… not fun.

Paleo-curious
2 years 1 month ago

I suspect I didn’t have the right gut flora… I’ve slowly acclimated. 🙂

Marisa
Marisa
2 years 1 month ago

“Your average salty slab of beige pseudo-meat doesn’t come from a pastured animal. Obviously. Those Oscar Mayer wieners quivering in the dusky summer light of a million American backyard barbecues?”

There is a distinct weird writing style that has been coming through like crazy lately on these posts. I love it. Is it Mark? Is it a worker bee? Just… hats off and slow claps, sirs and madams.

Christie
Christie
2 years 1 month ago

Yes, I have been curious about that too and much enjoying it.

victor
victor
2 years 1 month ago

Add to the fact he doesn’t respond to these posts like he used to make me wonder as well. All the same, good stuff.

dave
dave
2 years 1 month ago

I am trying to resolve a discrepancy brought on by coverage of bacon. I have read here that we should eat red meats that are cooked rare/medium rare in low to medium heat conditions. On the other I have also read that we should use slow cooking techniques, stew, soups, crockpots etc, which surely cook meat well done (over 160f). What gives?

Paleo-curious
2 years 1 month ago

As I understand it, it’s the searing/burning that causes dangerous compounds, so slow-cooked meats are usually safer.

dave
dave
2 years 1 month ago

so what about meats that have been seared on the outside but are rare inside? is that better than well done?

i hate well done steaks and roasts.

Jay Smith
Jay Smith
2 years 1 month ago

I like summer sausage, and will often take about 1/4 lb of it and one or two pieces of fruit for lunch if I am going to be out all day.

Jay Smith
Jay Smith
2 years 1 month ago

I had to eat huge lunches before I went paleo, but now I get by on these small lunches, and whether or not summer sausage is ultimately healthy, it has got to be at least 500% healthier than a fast food combo meal. Plus it costs less than $2 compared to $7 for the fast food.

Julia Mc
Julia Mc
2 years 1 month ago

I’d like to see a critique of the fermented meats like salami as they seem to fall in a different subcategory than the heat treated processed meats.

Angel
Angel
2 years 1 month ago

I don’t eat bacon very much but I do like to buy a slab of raw pork belly from my local but her shop and slice it myself.

Angel
Angel
2 years 1 month ago

Butcher shop* lol I’m sorry

Time Traveler
Time Traveler
2 years 1 month ago

Sorry but no cigar; less you hand me naturally cured meats from free ranged beef with good fats. Or better yet, Jamón or prosciutto from wild boars like in Spain, or home made Beef jerky.

John Peter
2 years 1 month ago

I own a wine and cheese look and that i sell sausage likewise. I find yourself ingestion truthfully} fair quantity of sausage

Bean
Bean
2 years 1 month ago
I think all this misses the point. The vast majority of people are eating their processed meat with bread. All the meats usually mentioned – sausages (on a bun), hamburgers (on a bun), bacon (with toast at breakfast), bologna (sandwich), ham (sandwich), salami (sandwich) – are eaten with bread. I mean really, no one except Paleo/Primal types eats those without bread. You all know this by the funny looks you get when you eat them without bread. So if a correlation of with processed meat is found, it could just as easily be the bread. Best just to ignore all… Read more »
Erok
Erok
2 years 1 month ago

I’m reading this while eating what the package tells me is 3 servings of Italian Dry Salami, all the time daydreaming about head cheese on rye.

firefly 88
firefly 88
2 years 1 month ago

As Gee Mark!!!
Just put some herbs on it and call it a day.

Kurt Gielen
2 years 1 month ago

I met a guy this week who told me he is working with a large producer of chicken nuggets and other processed forms of chicken. It turns out that the company receives 300,000 chicken every day.
What was scary was that the amount of waste at the end of the process was only one small bag. Which makes you wonder what parts of the chicken actually get used in thos nuggets.

Ever thought about doing a series on that part of the food industry?

Kevin Grokman
Kevin Grokman
2 years 1 month ago

I can’t fault myself for that nut, meat, and cheese board every now and again with a couple glasses of wine! At least, not yet. I think my body is still okay with that! And bacon…a one-sided romance (I don’t think it loves me, it just lives here), but I’ll always enjoy some!

Raquel
Raquel
2 years 1 month ago
Hi Mark, Great post. I just wanted to comment on your introduction when talking about people who don’t care about their health. I think actually many people do care about their health, I think they are just completely clueless. In the “healthy” grocery store I watch people and what they buy (sounds creepy, i know) and I see ladies in their workout clothes, buying veggie chips, loads of whole breads, fat-free frozen foods, etc… They think perhaps it is healthy, but maybe they are only relying on their current knowledge, which has been supplied by mass media, to aid them… Read more »
Animanarchy
Animanarchy
2 years 1 month ago
I normally avoid eating fruit with meat. Vegetables, yes, but I tend to follow the basics of food combining principles so I normally only eat fruit with other plant foods, mostly just other fruits or vegetables, except for tomatoes which I treat more like a vegetable. I have better digestion that way and being careful about food combinations seems to have increased the health of my digestive system, which used to be pretty bad. I was going to say something about this under the food combining post and this one just sparked my memory. I’m sure that just eating one… Read more »
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