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Are cured meats carcinogenic? Everything about their side effects

Are cured meats carcinogenic? Everything about their side effects

For a quick meal, cold cuts are often the solution. However, eating too much of them is bad: here when they should not be consumed.

When we talk about cured meats, we mean those foods usually wrapped in the intestine of an animal, such as pigs or chickena. People often demonize these tasty foods and even consider them carcinogenic. But what is the truth?

First of all you need to make a distinction, because not all the cured meats are wrapped in animal intestine: for example, ham is not. All kinds of salami, mortadella, air-cured pork meat, but also sausages and wurstels. In short, foods that we have eaten without problems, but which we should pay attention to.

In any case, the more you eat them the more you increase the risk of cancer. However, before jumping to conclusions, let’s try and understand more. Here there is all you need to know about cured meats.

Are cured meats carcinogenic?

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Several recent studies have demonstrated a link between eating processed, red meat (which also include cold meats) and the increased risk of cancer. The IARC, the International Agency for the Research on Cancer, has listed these foods among the certain carcinogenic substances.

This does not mean that eating cured meats causes cancer, but that there is an increased risk of cancer if you consume large amounts of these foods. For example, 50 grams per day of meat can increase the risk of colorectal cancer (the most common one as a result of the diet) of 18%.

It’s not clear why processed red meat are carcinogen: some think it is because of its nitrites and nitrates content that makes this food dangerous. For others, however, the cause is the pigment hemoglobin, which would damage the intestine cells.

Therefore, as it often happens when it comes to issues such as this one, the key word is moderation. Eating a salami sandwich is not dangerous, but it’s important to have a varied and balanced diet and exercise.

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Cured meats during in pregnancy

This is different for the categories of people at risk. For example, all the cured meats are quite high in fats, so you should not consume them if you are on a diet or you have high blood cholesterol and triglycerides levels.

Pregnant women should also be careful: some cured meats are made of raw meat and, as such, can transmit toxoplasmosis. However, even cooked cured meats are not properly recommended during pregnancy. They have a high salt content, as they can increase the blood pressure.

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