The Twinkie Report is PND’s investagation into the most important additives and preservatives to avoid in your diet.
We’ll also offer suggestions for ways to avoid them.
Hot Dogs, Bologna, Turkey Breast, Ham, Salami. Unless you are a champion label reader you are likely bring home a cartload of nitrates with these foods (and others like it) from the supermarket.
Sodium Nitrite is used to preserve, color, and flavor meat products. It is commonly added to cured meats like; bacon, ham, hot dogs, luncheon meats, smoked fish, and corned beef. It helps to prevents growth of bacteria.
So what possible dangers does this preservative present? The list is quite extensive, some links are more conclusively proven than others… a number of cancer’s top the list:
- Colorectal Cancer – 50 % higher risk for lower colon cancer – American Medical Association.
- Stomach Cancer: 38 % increase in stomach cancer for people who ate an increase of 30 grams of processed meat
- Pancreatic Cancer: 68 % increase risk in pancreatic cancer for groups who consumed high quantities of processed meats – National Cancer Institute
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
- DNA Mutations
- Increased risk of colon cancer
- Increased risk of Brain Tumors in Children
ADDITIONAL SOURCES OF SODIUM NITRATE
In addition to exposure from cured meats (and such) we are also exposed eating nitrates from leafy & root vegetables. But don’t think that means you should avoid these vegetables, the belief is the compounds in natural nitrates actually inhibit the development of disease, rather than cause it.
Nitrites are found some drinking water due to fertilizers, manure, animal feedlots and other environmental pollution sources. I know our water filter lists nitrates as one of the elements it removes from the water, it may be worth confirming that yours does the same.
THE GOOD NEWS
I don’t know about you, but my kids love sausage and hot dogs. I don’t want to deprive them completely and most veggie dogs don’t quite measure up.
The food industry has responded. If you read labels carefully you can find cured meats that are free of Sodium Nitrates and other things you want to avoid too. My rule of thumbs is not to buy it if I can’t pronounce it.
Items we’ve found that taste great and are Nitrate Free and free of most other nastiness:
- Aidells Smoked Chicken Sausage – We like the Roasted Garlic & Gruyere Cheese.
- Trader Joe’s Smoked Fresh Turkey Kielbasa (This one has a tough casing, I freeze it and peel the casing while the meat is frozen). Very lean and with an ingredient list of Turkey, Water, Sea Salt, Spices, Paprika, Dehydrated Garlic and Beef Collagen Casing – worth the trouble.
- Trader Joe’s Uncure Turkey Bacon
- Trader Joe’s – Uncured All Beef Hot Dogs
- Applegate Farms Certified Organic Sunday Bacon
This list is by no means complete, it’s a sampling of what was in the diva home at the time I wrote this post.
As a rule these meats are still going to have a higher sodium content. We don’t typically use them as a main course, rather as a side to a meal or a flavor enhancer.
Don’t forget to consider the meat that was used to make the product. Is it organic, raised without hormones, antibiotics, vegetarian fed, etc.
Some sources used for this article include:
PND recently found an article on MSN Health and Fitness 12 Preservative to Avoid, it seemed worth sharing. The article briefly lists MSN Healths picks for the top 12 additives and preservatives to avoid and briefly explains why. This list has inspired PND to create a new series.
We’re calling it ~ The Twinkie Report.
The 12 preservatives to avoid:
Sodium Nitrate Propyl Gallateu usually used in conjunction with BHA (Butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydrozyttoluene) Propyl gallate MSG – Monosodium glutamate – AKA Natural Flavorings Trans fats Aspartame Acesulfame-K – Another Sweetener Food colorings: Blue 1, 2; Red 3; Green 3; and Yellow 6 Olestra Potassium bromate White sugar Sodium chloride
In future installments PND plans on going through each preservative on the list to learn even more about why we should be avoiding them.
Some questions we’ll ask:
- What is it?
- Why Should we avoid it?
- Where is it used/Which Foods?
- What can we do/use instead?
We’re not sure exactly why we’re picking on the Twinkie – except when thinking about the ultimate in non food, preservative laden food ~ The Twinkie comes to mind first! Then we found this picture, which keeps making us laugh.
On side note I don’t think we’ll be doing any hostess giveaways in the near future. Apologies to our readers.
What exactly is in the Twinkie – not much that can be considered real food from our research.
Digging a little deeper the top twinkie ingredients are:
- Enriched Wheat Flour – enriched with ferrous sulphate (iron), B vitamins (niacin, thiamine mononitrate [B1],ribofavin [B12] and folic acid).
- Corn syrup
- High fructose corn syrup
- Vegetable and/or animal shortening – containing one or more of partially hydrogenated soybean, cottonseed or canola oil, and beef fat.
- Whole eggs
According to Steve Ettlinger’s book, Twinkie Deconstructed, five ingredients come from rocks and other ingredients like cellulose gum, Polysorbate 60, and calcium sulfate… These ingredients are also used in sheet rock, shampoo, and rocket fuel.
We’re looking forward to learning more and sharing with you over the coming weeks.
First up: Sodium Nitrate.