Does Your Processed Meat Look More Natural? (It's Not)

Food manufacturers are working hard to make processed food, including processed meat products, look imperfect, as a recent article by the Associated Press reveals. The goal, when it comes to processed meat such as cold cuts, is to make it look more like the slices of roast beef your mother used to serve. One example mentioned in the article involves a research team from a leading food company studying how people carve meat. The company is Kraft Foods Group Inc. and the reason why the team studied how people carve meat was to “build a machine that would hack the meat as a person might, creating slabs with more ragged edges.”

Why are food makers going to such great lengths to make processed food like more natural?

The Associated Press article notes that people don’t want to eat food that looks too processed:

“Food companies are responding to the adage that people eat with their eyes. Americans still love their fast food and packaged snacks, but they're increasingly turning their noses up at foods that look overly processed. Home-cooked meals -- or ones that at least look like they were homemade -- are seen as more wholesome and authentic.”

Read more about processed meat

“The result is that companies are tossing out the identical shapes and drab colors that scream of factory conveyor belts. There's no way to measure exactly how much food makers are investing to make their products look more natural or fresh. But adaption is seen as necessary for fueling steady growth.”

The dangers of processed meat

It is rather frightening that food makers would go to such great lengths to make people think that processed food, particularly processed meat, is unadulterated. There are numerous dangers to processed meats, as researchers have discovered. A study published last March found an association between processed meat and a greater risk for early death. Swiss researchers analyzed data from 448,568 men and women between 35 and 69 years old, and found that those who ate the most processed meat had a 44 percent increased risk of dying early. The researchers concluded, “The results of our analysis support a moderate positive association between processed meat consumption and mortality, in particular due to cardiovascular diseases, but also to cancer.”

Read more about cancer prevention

Another study, published in 2010, found a correlation between eating processed meat and an increased risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health found that each 50 gram (1.8 oz) daily serving of processed meat, which is about one to two slices of deli meats or one hot dog, was associated with a 42 percent higher risk of heart disease and a 19 percent higher risk of type 2 diabetes. The researchers reviewed almost 1,600 studies, which included more than a million people, from 10 countries on four continents (North America, Europe, Australia and Asia).

The bottom line is that all processed food is not healthy, and is not fit for daily human consumption. Stick to what nature created and you will live a longer, healthier life.

Photo: Anthony Albright

By Gina-Marie Cheeseman| June 25, 2013
Categories:  Eat
Keywords:  EatFood and Drink

About the Author

Gina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer armed with a passion for healthy living and a degree in journalism. Hailing from the dry, sunny Central San Joaquin Valley, she hasn't let the heat fry her brain!

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