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This article is one of many that throws in "Processed food" as a presumed unhealthy food type. For example, "The good news is that laying off soda, doughnuts, processed meats and fries could allow you to keep your mind intact until your body fails you". Soda, doughnuts, and fries I get; they're essentially low-nutrition sugar sources, sometimes with ω−6 heavy vegetable oils thrown in for flavor. But how is processed meat any worse than any other sort of meat?

Later he complains about how Americans "overconsume hyperprocessed foods" without further explanation.

Is there any evidence or even a credible physical hypothesis why fast food processed mystery meats would be meaningfully less healthy than the roughly similar unprocessed cuts from the same animal?




I imagine the following are relevant concerns:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_nitrite

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitrosamine

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_glycation_end-product

A hot dog is going to be both high in Sodium nitrite and AGEs for example.


Those might be valid health concerns in general, but what do they have to do with insulin and diabetes?


One possible hypothesis could be: since diabetes causes accelerated accumulation of AGEs, and Alzeihmer's is correlated with accelerated accumulation of AGEs, and processed food is high in AGEs, consumption of processed food is also bad.

One way to negate this hypothesis would be to show that the accumulation of exogenous AGEs is insignificant compared to the endogenous production of AGEs. I'm not knowledgeable enough on the subject to say if this has been studied.


"But how is processed meat any worse than any other sort of meat?"

It's thought to be because of the preservatives and other chemicals. If you look at studies of meat eaters vs vegetarians, vegetarians tend to be healthier. But once you correct for differences in processed meat consumption the difference is much less large. (At least according to Michael Pollan in In Defense of Food.)


I was going to point that out as well. The article is about insulin and throwing "processed meats" in there is simply confusing, since protein and fat are fairly minor players in the insulin game.


FWIW, One of the links in the article http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/alzheimers-diabetes-brain indicated a correlation between nitrates and Alzheimer's. This has also been published elsewhere http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090705215239.ht...


Very interesting! Any recommendations out there for how to avoid nitrates in one's food?


> Is there any evidence or even a credible physical hypothesis why fast food processed mystery meats would be meaningfully less healthy than the roughly similar unprocessed cuts from the same animal?

The typical processed meat product contains additional ingredients that are not just meat. Particularly nitrates and added sweeteners.


It has been shown recently that you consume more calories the same amount of processed meat as you do unprocessed meat. The definition of processing is broad, it basically includes anything you do to the meat except eat it raw. It likes having a machine prechew all your food so it's easier for you body to extract energy from it.


"Processed food" tends to have preservatives added into the mix, for example. It's not really a matter of "flesh cut right off the animal" vs "flesh that's been mashed a bit before arriving at the supermarket."


Because you're supposed to accept arguments based on the Naturalistic Fallacy at face value when discussing food, and pretend the FDA is explicitly out to get you every time it approves something you personally aren't familiar with.


Right, because FDA approval means that it's impossible for something to cause issues 30 years down the line... because, you know, we do long-term effects studies like that.


Hm. I'd just rather eat food with known ingredients than food and supplements with unknown ingredients, especially given that the supplement industry is fighting tooth and nail to prevent itself from being subject to the same level of scrutiny McDonald's is.

http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2012/07/02/dietary-supplem...




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