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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • Meat in moderation: Enjoy that hot dog, just not too often

  • Like most other things in life, moderation is key when it comes to eating yummy foods like hot dogs, bacon and deli meats.

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  • Like most other things in life, moderation is key when it comes to eating yummy foods like hot dogs, bacon and deli meats.
    A recent study in the journal Circulation found that “eating bacon, sausage, hot dogs and other processed meats can raise the risk of heart disease and diabetes.”
    Just what are processed meats?
    “They are meats not in their normal form — meats that are dried, cured or smoked with added chemical preservatives like sodium nitrates,” said Beth Gordon, a dietician at Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield, Ill.
    Can you eat the occasional foot-long hot dog and still have a healthy diet?
    “If your intake of processed meats is discreet, all foods can fit,” said Ximena Jimenez, consultant dietitian and national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. “However, a good number of these meats are high in sodium, and it may raise the body’s blood pressure in some people. A helpful tip is to watch the portion and read the nutritional food facts label.”
    For some people, it’s hard to imagine school lunches and quick snacks without deli meats, but there are healthier options if you simply read labels and try to avoid the added salt, which is the real culprit, Gordon said.
    Increased sodium levels, nitrates and preservatives increase blood pressure, which can lead to hypertension, damaged arteries and an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
    “Some processed meats can have between 300 milligrams to 700 milligrams of sodium for 1 ounce,” while the recommended amount of sodium is 2,300 milligrams per day, Jimenez said.
    “Reduced or less sodium is not very different to the original product; instead, buy low-sodium deli meats, which may contain about 180 milligrams per ounce.”
    Any even better idea is to buy meat in “its original form, turkey or chicken breasts, and use that for sandwiches instead,” Gordon said.
    GateHouse News Service

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