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Healthy meats/cold cuts


Replies to: Healthy meats/cold cuts

  • Columbia_StudentColumbia_Student Registered User Posts: 5,046 Senior Member
    Sodium nitrate (NaNO3) and its close relative sodium nitrite (NaNO2) are preservatives that you find in lots of processed meats. Stuff like salami, hot dogs, pepperoni, bologna, ham, bacon and SPAM all normally contain sodium nitrate as one of the ingredients. Fresh meats generally do not contain any added chemicals, so the question is, "Why is sodium nitrate added to all of these processed meats?"
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    What’s better, Nitrate or Nitrite?

    Nitrates are seldom used today as they are not easy to control when applying to meats and they don't work at refrigerator temperatures. Increasing temperature helps development of bacteria and shortens the useful life of a meat product. Those two factors basically eliminate nitrate from practical use and instead sodium nitrite is commonly used in the USA (Cure # 1) and everywhere else (Peklosol in Poland and in Germany). And the reason it took us so long to figure it out is that although nitrate was used to cure meats for thousands of years, its derivative "nitrite" was only discovered in the last century. To add to the confusion our commonly available cures contain both nitrite and nitrate. All commercial meat plants prepare their own cures where both nitrite and nitrate are used. All original European sausage recipes include nitrate and now have to be converted to nitrite. So what is the big difference?

    Almost no difference at all. Whether we use nitrate or nitrite, the final result is basically the same. The difference between nitrate is as big as the difference between wheat flour and the bread that was baked from it. The nitrate is the Mama that gives a birth to the Baby (nitrite).
    Nitrite is an even more powerful poison than nitrate as you need only about 1/3 of a tea-spoon to say good-bye, where in a case of nitrate you may need 1 tea-spoon or more. So all this explanation that nitrite is safer for you makes absolutely no sense at all. The main reason is that adding nitrite to meat does not leave much room for a question like: Do I have enough of nitrate or no? In other words, it is more predictable and it is easier to control the dosage. Estimating the required amount of nitrate is harder as it is dependent on :

    Temperature (higher temperature more nitrite is released from nitrate)
    Amount of bacteria present in meat that is needed for nitrate to produce nitrite and here we do not have any control.The more bacteria present, the more nitrite released. Adding sugar may be beneficial as it provides food for bacteria to grow faster.
    Another good reason for using nitrite is that it is effective at low temperatures (36° – 40° F) where nitrate likes temperatures a bit higher (46°-50° F, 8°-10° C). By curing meats at lower temperatures (nitrite) we prevent the development of bacteria what will extend the shelf life of a product and in the case of a commercial plant, it will bring more profits.

    When nitrates were used alone, salt penetration was usually ahead of color development. As a result most larger pieces like hams were too salty when colored properly and had to be soaked in water. This problem has been eliminated when using nitrite. Nitrite works much faster and the color is fixed well before salt can fully penetrate the meat.
  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Registered User Posts: 35,861 Senior Member
    I don't buy lunch meat-
    ( my favorite sandwich is homegrown tomato, & fresh basil, maybe if I grill it, fresh mozzerella too)
    but if I did I would go here.
    On Food: At thriving salami shop, tradition and innovation are stuffed into delicious bites
    ( please don't tell him I called it lunch meat)
  • VeryHappyVeryHappy Registered User Posts: 18,174 Senior Member
    Well, I think there's a big difference between "lunch meat" -- which to me means salami, bologna, liverwurst, even head cheese (ick) -- and "cold cuts," which to me means roast beef, turkey, ham. IMO, "cold cuts" are just real, unprocessed meats that are cut. And cold. The "lunch meats" are processed, ground, and filled with spices, including salt and the dreaded nitrites.
  • BookladyBooklady Registered User Posts: 3,122 Senior Member
    I occasionally make a turkey breast for dinner, and then we have the pleasure of slicing the leftovers for sandwiches. It's so much better than anything you can buy from the deli counter, even Boar's Head (which I agree is very tasty).
  • cartera45cartera45 Registered User Posts: 12,461 Senior Member
    I never considered a difference between lunch meat and cold cuts. We called it all lunch meat in the south - because we ate it for lunch. I don't ever remember hearing the term "cold cuts" until I moved away. My mom made fired bologna sandwiches when I was growing up. I never ate them because the smell made me sick but others found them to be quite tasty. Of course, they also ate pig brains and intestines so no accounting for taste.
  • pipmompipmom Registered User Posts: 1,097 Junior Member
    How about pig's feet? My mother would make them when I was young and I could only gag.

    I do, however, like fried bologna sandwiches with hot mustard. But I only them once a year now- really bad for you.

    I, too, love Boar's Head meats- hard to find here though- only available in one or two stores.
  • cartera45cartera45 Registered User Posts: 12,461 Senior Member
    They were not big on pig's feet, but there were plenty of other disgusting things in the fridge after hog killing time. I spent the whole time crying because I thought the hogs were pets. I could never eat any of it.
  • MiamiDAPMiamiDAP Registered User Posts: 16,184 Senior Member
    Do not forget that not only cold cuts are really bad, the bread usually is even much worse, even so called "whole grain" from the store and in addition, idea of mixing protein with carbs is one of the unhealthiest habits of whole human race. The best, forget sandwich!
  • pipmompipmom Registered User Posts: 1,097 Junior Member

    tell me more about not mixing protein and carbs. I have never heard of that.
  • MiamiDAPMiamiDAP Registered User Posts: 16,184 Senior Member
    Protein could be mixed vegies (not potatos, since they are basically carbs). Even fruit should be consumed separately because of sugars. I am not an MD, you probably can find more solid information if you Google it. Sorry! When I am forced to eat hot dog or hamburger, I eat them w/o buns. The same goes for pizza, no meat, please.
  • BookladyBooklady Registered User Posts: 3,122 Senior Member
    Are you talking about for weight loss purposes, or as a general rule? Many foods we eat already have a mixture of protein and carbs, along with some fat (a hot dog is perfect example of this). Separating things doesn't sound at all reasonable to me, but perhaps an MD or nutritionist can weigh in....

    ETA: Just found this Myth No. 7: Eating protein and carbs at different meals will help you lose weight.
  • cartera45cartera45 Registered User Posts: 12,461 Senior Member
    I have read that mixing certain foods can inhibit digestion and nutrient intake because of the way the enzymes work. I can't say that I ever did anything about it though. My problem is mixing carbs with carbs!

    ETA - Booklady - that article explains what I have read much better than I did.
  • MiamiDAPMiamiDAP Registered User Posts: 16,184 Senior Member
    Booklady, you are right. But I eat hot dog maybe once / year, I have to be forced to have it when nothing else is available. I do not consider Hot Dog a food item, just a mixture of chemicals and some dengerously smelling left overs.

    No, it is not for weight loss, proteins should not be mixed with carbs (like non-veggie type, bread, fruits and so forth).
  • cartera45cartera45 Registered User Posts: 12,461 Senior Member
    I like the soy SmartDogs. They are high in sodium though so adjustment needs to be made elsewhere.
  • LakeWashingtonLakeWashington Registered User Posts: 9,305 Senior Member
    Like the cardiiologists say, processed meat isn't good for you. Just buy fresh beef roasts or turkey/chicken breasts and prepare your own sandwich meat. That's hard for me to say because I love bologna and cured ham. I haven't eaten bologna in nearly two years. When I eat ham nowadays, I soak it first in water to reduced the salt. Oh what I wouldn't give right at this moment for a taste of Smithfiled country ham, proscuitto or Serrano ham.
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