Processed Meats: What They Are and Why They are Killing African Americans

What is a Processed Meat?

In the health world, people are frequently told to decrease their consumption of “processed meats.” But what are processed meats?

The most famous here in America is the simple hot dog. It’s a combination of meat from a whole bunch of scraps from pigs, cows, chicken, turkey, and salted and seasoned to taste and wrapped up in a thin membrane. This is your classic American hot dog . . . best seen on the 4th of July.

While uniquely American, it is also uniquely unhealthy. Too much salt, fat, cholesterol, and “processing.” Any “processed” food is changed from it original form.  Have you ever seen anything in nature that looked like this?

The “All American Hot Dog” is Killing Us

We grew up with a whole lot of other processed foods. When growing up , our lunch sandwiches included baloney, salami, and my parent’s favorite spam. These meats do not come from any particular part of the animal, they come from all sorts of parts of the animal, and again are ground up, seasoned, and then wrapped up and represented for consumption.

How are they Processed?

Part of the preservation of these foods was to put salt on them as well as other seasonings. It’s the salt that’s probably the most dangerous in processed meats. But there’s also a lot of cholesterol in the form of fat. In many cases, it’s the fat that that holds the meat together. You can tell that it has fat because when you heat it up or cook it, the fat becomes oil. None of this is good for your long-term health.

Being from Cleveland, we have the best corned beef in the country. And I love it like many others. Corned beef pastrami is also a terrible meat to eat and not good for people who want to avoid heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. But I also love pastrami!!  If you’re going to treat yourself, go ahead and treat yourself, but be sure not to eat this regularly. It simply is not good for you.

Higher Risk for All Types of Diseases

Increased “processed food” consumption is associated with an increased risk for: colon cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer, as well as heart disease and diabetes.

So when they bring out the deli tray with all sorts of “good things laying on it” try to minimize the amount you have because the nutritional value of these processed meats is very low, and the danger for raising your blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, and risk for early death is very high.

Related Podcast Episode

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  • Dr Greg Hall

    Greg Hall, MD is a physician, author, speaker, inventor, professor, and public health professional, specializing in urban health and the clinical care of African Americans. Dr. Hall’s extensive research in the care of African Americans lead to the development of GNetX Sequence Multivitamins a supplement developed to support African American needs. Most recently, Dr. Hall established the National Institute for African American Health, which is a nonprofit designed to promote health-related education, support students interested in a career in medicine, and serve as an advocate for African American patients. You can keep in touch with Dr. Hall by tuning into his Better Black Health Podcast where he covers Black American health topics.

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