Bill/SFNM wrote: cilantro wrote:
Mike G wrote:What makes you think nitrates are bad chemicals?
The fact that when bacon is cooked at high temperatures the sodium nitrite contained therein produces nitrosamines, which are quite likely carcinogenic?
These substances abound in everything we eat. Check out this table
. See how much nitrosamine is in cottage cheese. Or the nitrates in spinach.
Thanks for the link, Bill it is very helpful.
I just want to note here because I've seen this confusion many times (even on LTH and also by otherwise very knowledgeable food professionals/writers elsewhere) many times* - nitrates
are not recommended for curing (though they are used). Rather, nitrites
should be used. Nitrates are converted to nitrites and it is the nitrite that has the curing (delaying the onset of botulism) effect [actually the nitrite itself converted to nitric oxide for the effect].
For very long cures - nitrates could be used (nitrates would break down to nitrites and so on).
Only a very small amount of nitrite would actually be converted to nitrosamines in the cooking process.
As far as possible or potential carcinogenic compounds go - if meat is heated to temperatures greater than 200 ºC [I may be incorrect on this exact number] then some of these are formed (so no charred meat).
Anyways, here is an article (with references to the primary literature) : Nitrite in MeatI am not a food scientist - so if the above is incorrect or reflects a misunderstanding, I hope someone will correct me
Bill/SFNM wrote:I'm all for avoiding harmful compounds, but a little context is helpful.
as is perspective, thanks Bill.
from the article linked to above wrote:It has been reported that people normally consume more nitrates from their vegetable intake than from the cured meat products they eat. Spinach, beets, radishes, celery, and cabbages are among the vegetables that generally contain very high concentrations of nitrates (J. Food Sci., 52:1632)
To obtain 22 milligrams of sodium nitrite per kilogram of body weight (a lethal dose), a 154-pound adult would have to consume, at once, 18.57 pounds of cured meat product containing 200 ppm sodium nitrite (because nitrite is rapidly converted to nitric oxide during the curing process, the 18.57 pound figure should be tripled at least). Even if a person could eat that amount of cured meat, salt, not nitrite, probably would be the toxic factor.
See also "Nitrite curing of meat" by Ronald B. Pegg, Fereidoon Shahidi
(try searching for the word nitrite in it - parts of it is available through google books)http://books.google.com/books?id=dDGK9TQsTj0C
Rather than use sodium nitrite - many cures use 'celery juice' or other nitrite or nitrate containing 'natural' ingredients. I understand that there is a taste issue involved. However, I do think that the contributor to the taste (desirable or undesirable) is hardly the nitrate. Salt and spices (not the mention the most contributing factors - the pork (and pig's diet)) would affect the taste.
I just do not understand this idea of 'healthy' food
- healthy diet
yes, but that could include any food* if one adopts a sensible approach.*with the obvious disclaimer that some things are just not really foodI am not a nutritionist - so if the above is incorrect or reflects a misunderstanding, I hope someone will correct me
---My apologies for this quasi-rant - it is not directed at anyone. Simply an outpouring of my frustration at not being able to post on LTH as frequently as I would like to