So, what the heck are nitrates anyway? Sodium Nitrate is chemical food preservative. It was primarily made for use in fertilizer, smoke bombs, and rocket propellants. YUCK
Where can nitrates be found? hot dogs, lunch meat, pepperoni, sausage, bacon, ham
What's so bad about them?
* A known carcinogen that causes DNA damage, increased cellular degeneration that causes higher deaths in Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and diabetes.
* Causes multiple cancers- in fact the cancer prevention coalition has named them one of the top five cancer causing foods and recommends that if you must consume to limit consumption to no more than 12/month (especially important amongst children)
* Eating just 1.8 oz of processed meats a day gives you 42% higher chance heart disease and 19% higher chance of diabetes (US Dept Health and Human Services)
* Study done by Harvard School of Public Health showed 74% increase of childhood leukemia in kids that had a diet high in processed/cured meats (PLENTY other studies that show the same)
I don't want to give up lunch meat, hot dogs, etc- what can I do? It's best to just avoid these foods as much as possible because even non-nitrate versions are usually loaded with sodium, and made from lots of mysteriously "mechanically separated" meats. If you can't stay away entirely, seek out nitrate free, uncured, versions of all these products. Most stores carry them. Most importantly, limit consumption
Cancer Prevention Coalition
US Dept of Health and Human Services
Total Health Breakthroughs