A PSA About Red and Processed Meat for Employee Health
Red meat is one of those foods that the medical community doesn’t seem to be able to make up its mind about. If you’ve lived long enough, you’ve seen this argument take a number of twists and turns. “Red meat causes cancer,” “Red meat builds strong bones and muscle,” “Red meat is the world’s greatest aphrodisiac.”
For many years, it was impossible to put much stock in any of these claims. They were based on individual outcomes and anecdotal evidence. But the same cannot be said for what we know today. A recent study has used health record data points from over half a million patients to conclude that regular intake of red meat, both processed and unprocessed, is associated with increased mortality risk from all causes.
We don’t know exactly why this happens, but we do know that it occurs. Hanson Medical Systems is in the business of increasing employee health by any means necessary, and sometimes this is accomplished with education and awareness.
Learning About Red Meat
In the case of regular consumption of red meat, it isn’t the meat itself that is causing the problem, but what it contains. Red meat is high in iron. While iron is necessary for circulatory health, too much is a very bad thing. The same is true for nitrites and nitrates. Natural nitrites and nitrates occur in vegetables, but the ones that are in processed red meat are chemical preservatives that also add flavor. These salts may make anything they touch taste more savory, but when they are part of your diet they increase the risk of colon cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s Disease, kidney disease, and the meat sweats.
It’s All About Proportion
As with most unhealthy indulgences, a single dose of red meat or processed meat is not going to kill you. It’s when these items become dietary staples that the harm sets in. Processed meat, especially, is a convenience food. It is salty and savory and requires almost no preparation. But as with anything that cuts corners, it doesn’t do as good a job as the real thing.
Cured meats have been part of culinary traditions of all kinds since time immemorial. So has the eating of cows. The difference is that today, we have unlimited access to these items. If you were a farmer in the 19th century, you may have had one cow and that was it! If it was slaughtered, the meat would only keep so long, and once it was eaten, it was gone. The same goes for cured meats. These foods took time to create, and once prepared, they were a precious commodity not to be wasted through gluttony.
Today if you want 8 hot dogs, you can eat 8 hot dogs and then lumber off to the market for more. This isn’t keeping with the way your body is meant to ingest nutriment.
Hanson Medical Systems isn’t here to tell you what to do, but we are here to encourage you and your employees to use red meat and processed red meat in ways that are good for your body. Being more reliant on other protein sources as well as non-processed foods is perhaps the best way to stay healthy in the long term, at least as far as your diet is concerned.