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Is our diet that bad?

(152 Posts)
lljkk Thu 07-Mar-13 18:35:33

We eat processed meats most days (DC like ham sandwiches for lunch & I have higher quality ssg rolls in fridge as snacks or for breakfast; I thought protein was a good thing, 8yo especially difficult eater). Plus we all like sausages & mince.

13yo was told by school that 33% of his diet should be fruit + veg and only 5% sugars+fats (% volume? % Calories? Not sure which). 13yo reckons he eats 20% F+veg & 20% sugar+fat daily. Thing is, 13yo eats a plate heaped with vegies for 90% of his evening meals, and 90% of days he has less than 80g of biscuits (or similar sugary intake). I honestly thought that was less sugar & a lot more veg than usual.

For UK I still think our diet is better than average, maybe much better than average. Lots of wholemeal options, strict about jam/sugar in porridge, fizzy drinks a rather rare treat. Plenty of fruit for those who like fruit. But am I deluded about what is truly healthy enough?

KobayashiMaru Sat 09-Mar-13 14:35:05

I buy a whole ham and boil it on a monday and slice it for sandwiches for the week. nothing processed about it, and I have a house full of ham lovers.
(You can make a great soup from the water too)

Domjolly Sat 09-Mar-13 14:39:04

we hardly eat any i cook fresh every day and dont put ham in sarines we usually put egg mayo or tuna ect

shockers Sat 09-Mar-13 14:40:08

What I meant teatrolley, was that it's not packaged ham, so would it have the same amount of preservatives etc? Is all ham processed? I'm feeling a bit thick now! grin

teatrolley Sat 09-Mar-13 14:44:14

All ham is processed, including KobayashiMuru's that she cooks herself, in that it's already been salted.


ppeatfruit Sat 09-Mar-13 14:46:51

Yes shockers all ham is processed with sugars and nitrites etc.

This isn't news to me; DH was having horrible pains in his legs. I worked out what he'd eaten and it was always after ANY pork products so he cut them all out and now he has no pains, it's fascinating. Apparently pork is the most acid forming meat. Poor little piggies grin

teatrolley Sat 09-Mar-13 14:48:15

Actually KobayashiMuru's might be unsalted. I might be mixing it up with gammon confused.

FurryDogMother Sat 09-Mar-13 14:51:31

Well, I'm buggered - I eat at least 3 rashers of bacon a day (low carbing). I think I'll be changing to home made burgers with my morning eggs. I don't eat sausages because of the rusk content, but I do have sausage skins and a stuffing gun (ooer!), so all I need to do is buy a mincer (the food processor doesn't do it right) and I can make my own, out of good, plain pork and herbs/spices. It's going to hurt to give up the bacon though sad

teatrolley Sat 09-Mar-13 14:52:32

For the BBC site. 'Gammon joints are sold at various weights, with or without the bone, smoked or unsmoked. In the past, gammons needed soaking overnight in cold water to remove excess saltiness; nowadays this is generally unnecessary because of modern curing methods - check when buying as some more traditionally cured gammons may benefit from soaking. Gammon joints can be boiled or roasted and gammon steaks (cut thickly from the joint) are best grilled or pan-fried.' So it's still cured which = processed.

There are too many damned meats from one animal.

KobayashiMaru Sat 09-Mar-13 14:54:13

It's only slighted salted, and there is a way to cook it to remove almost all of that. It isn't at all what you could call processed.

pollypandemonium Sat 09-Mar-13 14:55:24

Sausages are not always made of processed meat - the NHS refers to "some sausages". Only those that are treated with preservatives such as nitrate and sodium nitrite. So frankfurters, any sausage that has been pre-cooked and then preserved.

Fresh meat and red meat are NOT a problem at all. Good British sausages are made of raw meat which is waiting to be cooked and in theory has not been treated with nitrite at all.

All of this research originated when they found that Hawaiian people had huge statistics for pancreatic cancer and they linked it back to their over-keen use of spam.

This explains the link well.


pollypandemonium Sat 09-Mar-13 14:58:50

And here's what the American Meat Institute said about it at the time:


teatrolley Sat 09-Mar-13 15:05:21

I don't think it's solely a sodium nitrate issue and I can't find anything to suggest that the risk doesn't include british style sausages.

KobayashiMaru Sat 09-Mar-13 15:07:29

Why would it include british style high end sausages though?

teatrolley Sat 09-Mar-13 15:11:44

The high fat and salt content?

teatrolley Sat 09-Mar-13 15:13:51

grin at your link. It's from 2005, a long time before this latest study and even before the 2007 one that had similar findings, and it's from the US meat industry.

notso Sat 09-Mar-13 15:14:21

I always thought processed meat was chopped and shaped chicken nuggets for example not a gammon joint.
Thats not the case though according to an expert on the radio, KobayashiMaru's delicious sounding gammon is still processed and in principal no different to basic wafer thin ham although I know which I'd rather eat.

I'm just glad mince isn't included, we would be very hungry if mince had to be restricted.

KobayashiMaru Sat 09-Mar-13 15:15:28

You think the fat in sausages cause cancer but when the same meat is not in a sausage skin it doesn't?
The sausages I buy are not high in salt. You are making a lot of assumptions with no facts.

KobayashiMaru Sat 09-Mar-13 15:18:29

it's not gammon and its not processed, anymore than a steak is processed. It's just a piece of meat, not cured or salted or brined. It's called fresh ham and is simply a part of a pigs leg.

pollypandemonium Sat 09-Mar-13 15:20:30

There is a difference between a preserved sausage and a fresh sausage. Most of the news items seem to wrap them into one definition.

If a fresh sausage is the same as a processed sausage then this statistic wouldn't add up:

"people who ate 20-160g of red meat a day were at no higher risk than those who ate 10-20g per day" (from the NHS article)

The sad thing is that most sausages have added nitrate or sodium nitrite and they probably don't need to. Likewise bacon - it's raw meat so shouldn't need preserving if it' refregerated.

teatrolley Sat 09-Mar-13 15:22:25

I said yours might be different.

It's not me saying it causes cancer. It's a major European study saying that a certain level of consumption increases the risk of certain cancers. I was guessing at the factors as you asked why sausages might be an issue. Why not look up the study.

Gigondas Sat 09-Mar-13 15:22:55

I went to a talk by a dietician yesterday who specialises in working with oncology patients.

It is the curing methods (particularly nitrates) that they think is the issue so recommend ideally no more than 150g per week . This was aimed at those who had or wanted to avoid cancer.

There is an overlap into the general advice about not eating too much red meat (fish and poultry are ok). The general advice here was 500g per week.

I too was alarmed cos of pack lunches so god knows what I am going to give fussy dd1

sittinginthesun Sat 09-Mar-13 15:23:20

There was a study published a few years ago about this (around the same time that my dad died from bowel cancer), and I read a lot about it. Think there was a lot of info on the Cancer Research website.

It is all processed meats, regardless of the quality. It is something to do with the way in which the body has to breakdown and digest the preservatives. From memory, it wasn't just the salt content etc. it dies not apply to unprocessed meats.

I changed our diets at the time, because I was particularly paranoid after my dad died. We still eat processed meat around once a fortnight (bacon sandwiches today smile), but if we have bacon on a Saturday, then we won't have ham, bacon or sausages for the next 10-14 days or so.

We eat fresh red meat (beef or lamb), around 2-3 times a week (a roast, a chilli, and a stew or spag bog). We eat chicken twice a week, fish twice a week, and veggie once a week.

Oh, and the latest research was very big on seeds and nuts - we've always had them around too.

KobayashiMaru Sat 09-Mar-13 15:23:53

I read the study. It is specifically about nitrates and chemical processes. nothing to do with fat or salt.

teatrolley Sat 09-Mar-13 15:24:32

Surely if it were totally unprocessed it would be pork confused

pollypandemonium Sat 09-Mar-13 15:25:21

We think we're confused, well so are the sausage makers:


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