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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 15:30:17

All of the pig is pork, but different cuts have names, same as beef. The upper part of the hind leg of a pig is a ham. A fresh ham is uncured. A cured ham can be brined, smoked, dry cured...etc.

pollypandemonium Sat 09-Mar-13 15:30:45

teatrolley - 'processed' doesn't mean that it's gone through a mincer, it means it's been preserved with chemicals or salts. 'Cured' is the other word for it. Even Wiki says this process is controversial.

Talkinpeace Sat 09-Mar-13 15:39:09

Nitrites are a type of salt. They have the same impact on your body.

pollypandemonium Sat 09-Mar-13 15:39:54

The thing with sodium nitrite is that it becomes unstable in the body and produces nitrosamines which are carcinogenic. As usual there are a million and one articles professing vague theories about this and sitting on the fence as to whether there is any scientific fact to any of it, but taking all the evidence together and considering the immense power of the meat industry to quash research, there must be something in it.

teatrolley Sat 09-Mar-13 15:40:18

I know. I'm going by the NHS definition of 'preserved by smoking, curing, salting or adding preservatives'. This includes sausages, bacon, ham, salami and pâtés

pollypandemonium Sat 09-Mar-13 15:43:12

That's where the NHS article needs to be more specific. As this is a Euro-wide study, what we call sausage is not what a german would call sausage. They should all be very ill indeed going by the amount of preserved meat that they eat.

teatrolley Sat 09-Mar-13 15:44:12

It might be easier to adopt the Daily Mail theory that everything either causes or cures cancer and just eat everything with broccoli.

musicalfamily Sat 09-Mar-13 15:54:09

This is only anectodal, but in the last decade or so every time I eat any of the following:
- sausages
- bacon
- ham
- gammon
I get an unquenchable thirst, it keeps me up all night and it is pretty scary.
I thought it was salt having this effect but it definitely isn't as I always add salt to things like salad or food and I never get thirsty. There is definitely something in the way that meat is preserved or processed that massively disagree with my system and I wonder whether other people have had similar.

To the OP, I would cut on the sausage rolls and keep the ham for emergency sandwiches. Like others suggested, you can roast a piece of beef or turkey and cut thinly for sandwiches instead!

pollypandemonium Sat 09-Mar-13 16:01:34

I have a friend who is allergic to nitrates, so she can't drink wine.

Teatrolley that's what the American Meat Industries said - that even root vegetables have nitrates, which turn into nitrites... blablabla. I think we were better off with horse balls.

KobayashiMaru Sat 09-Mar-13 16:02:12

not in common parlance they aren't. And they don't, exactly.
You realise that 80% of dietary nitrates are derived from vegetable consumption?
The evidence for these substances causing cancer is very far from assured.

pipsy76 Sat 09-Mar-13 16:05:30

Surely this doesn't apply to the nice ham as purchased by mumsnetters! wink

notso Sat 09-Mar-13 16:13:29

I am confused now I though until it was cooked ham was gammon as it says here.
I have tried to get hold of the kind of joint Kobyasha has mentioned for years but told there was no such thing, if it's not cured then it's pork not gammon or ham, though it must be available somewhere to cure in the first place.
Please don't think I'm picking on you Kobyasha just you'r the only example.

ErrorError Sat 09-Mar-13 16:13:42

I used to be fed a lot of canned meat, and now I'm vegetarian. Says it all for me really! (Not a helpful post but I don't have any stats to add that other's haven't already said.) However, I thought the dangers of processed meat was old news. I think it's interesting it's been brought up again now on the back of the Horsemeat scandal. As if health organisations are thinking "they're put off by horse so let's slip this in as a reminder while everyone is being extra cautious."

pollypandemonium Sat 09-Mar-13 16:35:22

This has been a long-standing cross-european piece of research involving half a million people so it's not just a cobbled together bit of opportunism.

I agree that gammon is usually cured, but possibly not with nitrite, possibly just boiled in salt?

JakeBullet Sat 09-Mar-13 16:36:51

teatrolley grin

Yes if in doubt consult the Daily Mail and add some broccoli to the meal.grin

I think this study relates to all processed meats no matter what the meat content. I am very good and don't eat a great deal of processed meat but have over indulged on crisps and snacks in my time which are potentially as health risky if not more so....grin

It's the preservatives in the processed meat ....even the naice ham as bought by Mumsnetters.

I always remember my lovely and very well meaning MIL buying DS some "Billy Bear" ham when he was a toddler.....he wouldn't touch it thankfully. Sadly at age 10 he is absolutely fascinated by it and I suspect if I bought it he would now eat it.

pollypandemonium Sat 09-Mar-13 16:37:02

I do love a gammon & pineapple slice with cheese on top.

sittinginthesun Sat 09-Mar-13 16:46:21

As Polly says, this is a big study. And it's just the latest of many studies. The research has been showing a link for at least the last 5 years.

timidviper Sat 09-Mar-13 16:50:31

I think if the meat is in any form other than how it comes off the animal, then it is processed so straightforward pork is ok, gammon, bacon, sausages, etc are not.

Having said all that, if we listen to all these studies we'd never eat anything. I will probably be a little more aware of what I'm eating but I think if you start taking all the advice seriously you will end up mad, starving or both!

Talkinpeace Sat 09-Mar-13 16:53:22

Fresh Venison is OK - and there will be LOTS of that around soon ....

pollypandemonium Sat 09-Mar-13 16:54:04

There are very few risks of eating red meat according to the research, but there is in eating processed meat when it has been preserved. If you buy sausage meat there is no preservative in it, likewise some sausages.

Frankfurters are obviously a big no-no but top quality bangers probably are less of a problem.

ErrorError Sat 09-Mar-13 17:03:35

I never thought it was cobbled together because of the horsemeat scandal, I know it's a well researched long-standing study, but seems to me like an interesting coincidence that the study has been brought into the public consciousness again while the scandal is happening. Research always comes out with new developments and stats, and I do like to know how scientists have reached their conclusions, but the general consensus for as long as I can remember has been: Processed meat = bad for your health.

fussychica Sat 09-Mar-13 17:09:50

Just bought bacon, ham and pastrami - oops - luckily I also picked up some broccoli and a Daily Failgrin

pollypandemonium Sat 09-Mar-13 17:29:06

According to science that broccoli will save your bacon. grin

thegreylady Sat 09-Mar-13 18:06:23

I would say I have maybe 2/3 rashers a week and maybe one sausage or half a sausage roll which would be instead of one rasher.I just feel I cant get it right somehow.Red meat is bad for you so limit beef/lamb etc,no sausage or ham or bacon,no processed as in preserved meat at all.

JakeBullet Sat 09-Mar-13 18:24:28

Processed meat is the issue and not red meat per se.

But when we take it all rigt back its only in the last 40 years or so we have eaten meat every day. Prior to that it would probably only have been served on special occasions.

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