Nitrates And Nitrites

The junk nutritional science:

…a 2005 study by scientists with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute with investigators supported by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, found that sodium nitrite infusions led to the production of nitric oxide which increased blood flow and protected the hearts and livers in mice undergoing experimental heart attacks and liver injuries, reducing heart muscle and liver tissue damage.

All of this experimental research is preliminary but does illustrate that in the past 15 years, “we’ve gone from considering all of these things to be toxic and carcinogenic to realizing that [nitrites are] playing a fundamental homeostatic role,” said Dr. Ferric Fang, M.D., professor of laboratory medicine and microbiology at the University of Washington in Seattle. They’re a normal, natural part of a healthy body and not chemicals to fear.

So, hotdogs and processed meats are condemned as junk food because they contain nitrates, which they don’t, while vegetables are declared health food because they’re free from the same chemicals, which they’re not. It may be awhile before people will get to the point of calling bacon and hotdogs health food.

Woody Allen’s notion in Sleeper is looking more and more prophetic.

[Update mid morning]

Some disgusting anti-bacon propaganda.

6 thoughts on “Nitrates And Nitrites”

  1. I saw that “any amount of red meat is bad for you” article on the front page of my local (Albuquerque) paper today. Any truth to it or is it a flawed “largest study of it’s kind?” The version in the local paper brought up both nuts and grains as substitutes for servings of red meat. I see in the link that “Participants who had high intakes of red meat were also less likely to exercise and more likely to smoke, drink, and have a higher body mass index. They were also less likely to eat fruits and vegetables” which makes me suspect the red meat thing is correlation rather than causation. I also wonder about the accuracy of this information collected from 121,000 ‘health professionals’ across 28 years.

  2. Coffee is bad for you, except when it isn’t.
    Alcohol is bad for you, except when it isn’t.
    Fat is bad for you, except when it isn’t.
    X is bad for you, except when it isn’t.

    Frankly, I’m of the opinion that none of them know what they’re talking about. I’ll eat what I damned well please and if Michelle Obama (or anyone else) doesn’t like it, she can shove it.

  3. I’ve never had any problem with nitrates — especially since they’re usually much cheaper than dayrates.

  4. Jeff: the NPR report made it pretty clear the whole thing is based on self-reporting, and reading between the lines they probably data-mined it to within an inch of the study’s life. They briefly but uninformatively noted that the meat-producing associations had hired guns yelping about the unscientific nature and multiple methodological mortal sins of the study, but they didn’t bother to actually give one of the hired guns an actual quote, just dismissive, reductive paraphrasing of “objections”.

    I dunno, my own observation bias is inclined to make me dismiss this sort of thing out of hand, so maybe I’m overreacting.

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