Nitrite Expert Refutes Review Linking Processed Meats and Heart Disease, DiabetesFriday, January 28, 2011
(American Meat Institute)
In a letter published in Circulation, University of Texas Health Science Center’s Nathan S. Bryan, Ph.D., raised concerns that a 2010 epidemiological review, “Red and Processed Meat Consumption and Risk of Incident Coronary Heart Disease, Stroke and Diabetes Mellitus,” by Micha et al. lacked the proper physiological perspective and context for accurate interpretation of the data.
Micha et al, reported a weak association between red meats and coronary heart disease (CHD) and diabetes mellitus. According to Bryan, the authors suggest that the increased risk may be due to nitrites and nitrates used as preservatives but data presented in their review indicated minimal difference in the nitrite and nitrate content of red versus processed meats, which reflected the fact that endogenous nitrogen oxides in meat or muscle exceed that added in meat processing.
“Studies such as this and others leave
scientists and consumers alike confused as to
what we should or should not eat. We have been
told for decades to eat our vegetables.
However, the large European Prospective
Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC
Oxford) study found vegetarians had increased
colon cancer risk compared to non-vegetarians,
raising the specter that some dietary component
in vegetarians increases risk or that
meat-eating conferred decreased risk of this
type of cancer. Does this mean that we
should not eat our vegetables at the risk of
getting colon cancer by the same argument as
al put forward?”
“My point is not to discredit important
epidemiological data but rather to put it in
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