Healthy Bites: Avoid processed meats

MD Anderson Cancer Center
Date: July 2013

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Mary Ellen Herndon:

Hi, I'm Mary Ellen, a dietician at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Welcome to our Healthy Bites Nutrition Challenge. For the next month I'm going to ask you to eat one less serving of processed meat each week. Processed meats are basically any meat that's been smoked, cured or salted. It also includes those meats that have had any chemicals added to enhance their flavor. These types of meat will increase your risk for colorectal cancer. That's because when you add all these chemicals and do all these processes to them, it can damage your DNA.

Charisse:

I always knew that processed meats included canned meat, hot dogs and sausage but I never knew that freshly sliced meats from the deli counter were considered processed meats. I always thought this was a healthier option compared to the prepackaged ones. But it turns out they're all loaded with sodium.

Mary Ellen Herndon:

Deli meats and lunch meats unfortunately aren't the only thing that count as processed meat. Some other examples are bacon, sausage, hot dogs, pepperoni, beef jerky and roast beef. If you eat any of these meats, I hate to say it but it's really time you cut back. Instead choose some healthier options like chicken, fish or tofu. You can find more examples of processed meats at mdanderson.org/healthybites. You'll also find some tips and tools and recipes that will help you eat less processed meat. Good luck.

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