Bacon, hot dogs, deli meats and other processed meats have long been considered guilty-pleasure foods that contain unhealthy preservatives, additives and any number of chemical ingredients. Now, food companies are trying to change that image by creating “natural” lines of processed meat products from real ingredients with no added preservatives. But consumers who look beyond the label may be surprised at what they find in these “natural” meats.
Even if it were possible to produce processed meats without nitrites or nitrates, they still contain high amounts of fat and sodium and nutritionists say they should be consumed in moderation.
“These are not particularly nutritious foods, but they’re cheap to produce and they taste good and they’re widely promoted by manufacturers,” said Joe Schwarcz, director of the McGill University Office for Science and Society. “What is marketing all about? It’s the attempt to make your product look better than what it really is.”