I Fear Nitrites

Discussion in 'Health & Wellness' started by Frank Sanoica, Oct 9, 2017.

  1. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Very Well-Known Member
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    Was not sure, here, or Reminiscenses since that's where my recollection began. As a kid, ~ 10, my dad was having stomach problems. He was ~ 50. Our old family Doctor, always soft and encouraging, (he delivered me and my nephew), I remember distinctly admonishing my dad....."Sanoica", he said, always used the last name, tell your wife to buy less preserved meats, ham, cold-cuts, hot dogs, new findings show preservatives in meats, like nitrates, are very seriously affecting health.

    Did we change? I think not. But now, 60 years later, I reflect upon the fact that I have ALWAYS remembered his warning, whether heeding it or not. As a student of Chemistry, I always wondered what it was about NITRITES, wth were they. Several decades ago, I read that nitrites are added to meat products to prevent spoilage by bacteria. MANY products. All sausage, ham, bacon , and such. A move was instituted to outlaw nitrites years ago, but was shelved (ala cyclamates, saccharin, "sugar-alcohols"). Failed. We still got 'em.

    Why the worry? Nitrites, very useful in preserving meats, are first converted in the human body by the liver into NITROSAMINES. "Most nitrosamines are carcinogenic." See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitrosamine

    My point here is that evidently this new "trend" of organic and/or no artificial ingredients, has resulted in many product lines available touting, "no artificial preservatives", no artificial ingredients, no nitrites, etc. They cost more, of course. One very tasty sausage brand we buy is Alfresco. Meets all those preservative-free requirements. There are others. Look for them. Read carefully.

    So, Nitrites. What, why, how? Nitrites are a chemical SALT, similar to table salt, which for whatever reason (I dunno) keep meats bacteria-free for long periods. Eaten, the human liver detects them in the bloodstream, and removes them. How? By chemical reaction which unfortunately produces as the first product NITROSAMINES, carcinogens.

    "Most nitrosamines are carcinogenic." See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitrosamine

    My best advice, if you care about any of this, is read labels carefully, look for nitrites in the ingredients, or better, seek labels stating "no artificial ingredients or preservatives". Expect to pay more for these.

    Frank
     
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  2. Gloria Mitchell

    Gloria Mitchell Well-Known Member
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    @Frank Sanoica ..I agree. My husband has had to eat sandwiches for 16 years at lunchtime. I have and still on ocassion by lunchmeats...but do try and find any meats without nitrates. Often I will cook up chicken or a roast and make his lunch from that. Like most things moderation is the key to the bad stuff;)
     
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  3. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    Since I watch my sodium intake I'm very careful about nitrates. I seldom buy anything that has them.
     
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  4. Shirley Martin

    Shirley Martin Veteran Member
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    I might fear nitrates but I ain't givin' up my BLTs. :D Actually, bacon is about the only thing that I eat that has nitrates. Every once in a while, I might eat a weenie but not often.
     
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  5. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Very Well-Known Member
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    @Chrissy Cross @Shirley Martin

    Notice here, please, that there is a big difference between Nitrites and Nitrates. Nitrites are the bad guys, nitrates far less so. Nitrates, unfortunately, are far inferior for preserving purposes than Nitrites. Further, AFAIK, Nitrates are not carcinogenic, but are harmful if ingested in great amounts. We find Nitrates often in wellwater, especially from very deep wells like those used for irrigating crops. The irrigation wells I became familiar with outside Phoenix, AZ, delivered incredible amounts of water out into irrigation ditches, many on the Gila River Indian Reservation. The ditches were nice and clean, lined with concrete in many places, and we marveled at seeing Indian families along with small kids luxuriating in those cooling waters in summer, having picnics along the banks! Plenty safe for bathing, but not potable because of high Nitrate content. I tasted it once, but could detect no salty taste. Many of those wells are 1000 feet deep, or more, and have giant electric motors mounted vertically at ground level, driving the pumps down at the bottom of the well. I worked on one of those motors once; it was as big as your refrigerator!

    Both Nitrites and Nitrates have pretty intense salty taste. Labels on Nitrite preserved meats often reveal that no salt is added; the nitrite is salty enough!
     
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  6. Martin Alonzo

    Martin Alonzo Very Well-Known Member
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    Frank you are so correct nitrites and nitrates are all carcinogenic and in most all processed meats. I buy my bacon without nitrates. and the sausage I buy is made by hand here in the countryside. There is many problems with processed meat and this gives people the wrong opinion of eating meat.
     
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  7. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    It's not the cancer that I worry about when not eating nitrates or nitrites...it's the high sodium.

    I eat very little processed food. I usually only buy raw meat that has nothing injected and I never buy lunch meat or hot dogs or ham or bacon, etc.

    Once in a while I'll buy one of the healthier sausages, either chicken or turkey and always look to see what the sodium count is and go for the lowest.

    Never buy canned goods.

    Guess the only things I buy that aren't very healthy are the diet TV dinners and I'm picky with those also.

    I probably spend more on food than I should but then I don't buy much else so I can afford to be a little extravagant.
     
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  8. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    I don't eat a lot of packaged meats, but I do eat Oscar Mayer Hard Salami from time to time. I have tried several other hard salamis and none of them compare to the taste of the Oscar Mayer brand. Normally, I'd look for something that looked like it might be healthier than an Oscar Mayer brand, but their hard salami is better than anyone else's. It's not like I can't get along without hard salami so if not for the taste, I wouldn't buy any at all. How does one tell whether a product has nitrite or not? It is not listed as an ingredient.

    hard-salami.jpg
     
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  9. Martin Alonzo

    Martin Alonzo Very Well-Known Member
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    Ken from their web site
    There’s Something for the Whole Family.
    A savory sandwich that fits your life with no added nitrates or nitrites* in our Deli Fresh Bold meats.

    *Except those naturally occurring in celery juice.
     
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  10. Shirley Martin

    Shirley Martin Veteran Member
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    So, I can eat my bacon with nitrates if I only eat it about once a week? Heck, something is going to kill us anyway. It 'bout as be something delicious like bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches.
     
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  11. Martin Alonzo

    Martin Alonzo Very Well-Known Member
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    You can buy bacon without nitrites and nitrates. There was an old saying choose the hill you want to die on. I want to die in by bed at night being over 100 years old. Not hooked up to machines in a hospital for years on drugs to stop suffering.
     
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  12. Bobby Cole

    Bobby Cole Very Well-Known Member
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    In the restaurant business it was common to find a container of sodium nitrate on the pantry shelf. A water bath was prepared with the antioxidant for lettuce or any sliced fruit that would normally oxidize or wilt quickly. Since the mid 80’s the nitrates were banned by the FDA and quickly agreed upon by the USDA due to the findings that the product savers in use were actually very bad for people with heart problems.

    Now the restaurants use other products such as “Keep White” and “Vegi Fresh” which have the more favored Nitrite rather than Nitrate in them. That said, long ago I discovered the use of citric acid (lemon or lime juice) to be less expensive or harmful and I along with almost every Chef who cares even uses it in egg washes and batters to keep them from turning color.

    If you like going to buffets and see nice fresh scrambled eggs on the steam table or untarnished sliced fruit on the cold bar then there are some preservatives being used so it’s just a matter of asking the chef what he or she uses in the process. Some places use a pre-mix egg product that already has citric acid included in them.
     
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  13. Shirley Martin

    Shirley Martin Veteran Member
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    I use citric acid to keep apples and peaches from turning dark when I make jellies and jam. It's called Fruit Fresh.
     
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  14. Sheldon Scott

    Sheldon Scott Very Well-Known Member
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    Bacon, ham and sausage are staples in our house. I think I'll go cook some sausage and eggs for breakfast. C'mon over if you're hungry. Coffee's already made.
     
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  15. Gloria Mitchell

    Gloria Mitchell Well-Known Member
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    On my way...:)
     
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  16. Gloria Mitchell

    Gloria Mitchell Well-Known Member
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    One week I buy bacon...next time I buy turkey bacon.I do not know why or when I started swtiching foods around. Love BLT but do not eat on regular basis. The other night...ultimate sin...chicken fried steak, whipped potatoes with gravy and biscuts. I am sure nitrates were there somewhere-hopefully they were diluted by the gravy;). My hubby still thanking me for that meal:p
     
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  17. Bill Boggs

    Bill Boggs Very Well-Known Member
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    Frank ole son, you're deep. I don't eat oscar meyer salami but eat oscar meyer everything else. I'm a sandwich guy. Can't help it. I learn sandwiches from, well, there used to be this guy named Dagwood Bumstead. He and Blonde were a couple and I learned to make a good sandwiches from Dagwood. Now he didn't discuss nitrates or nitrites and it's a wonder he didn't because he himself was well rounded in his knowledge, kind of like Frank. Used to be when I'd make a sandwich and it had three or four meats on it and maybe some left overs and two or three types of cheese, with onions and pickles and two kinda of lettuce with a few slices of home-grown tomatoes and my wife would question my sanity and I'd just say, "babe, it's a Dagwood." I do wonder why oh, why pray tell, I'm just now finding out a bout them nitrates, Why, I could have damaged my liver.
     
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  18. Bill Boggs

    Bill Boggs Very Well-Known Member
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    I'd like the same for supper. They're staples at our house, too.
     
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  19. Martin Alonzo

    Martin Alonzo Very Well-Known Member
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    Nitrated and nitrites are carcinogenic mean they cause cancer but cancer starts at a cellular level so it might take ten/twenty years before it grows large enough to be a threat. Now if your immune system finds it and works correctly it means no problem. If you were to eat nitrites/nitrates on a regular bases you increase your chances of getting cancer.
     
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