Processed, Cured and Smoked Meats: Definitely Not… | The Paleo Diet®
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Processed, Cured and Smoked Meats: Definitely Not Paleo!

By Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Founder of The Paleo Diet
July 11, 2017
Processed, Cured and Smoked Meats:  Definitely Not Paleo! image

As more and more people adopt the Paleo Diet, controversy has arisen as to which dietary elements actually comprise a contemporary “Paleo Diet”. Or more precisely, which current foods, food groups or food additives should be included or excluded in modern day diets as we try to emulate the nutritional characteristics of our pre-agricultural ancestors?

A number of popular-day and charismatic bloggers suggest that processed meats such as bacon and other cured, processed and smoked meats should be part of contemporary Paleo Diets on a daily basis (1-3).

Surprisingly, one of the contested elements that charismatic bloggers advocate (via their recommendation to eat processed meats and bacon) is salt (1-3). Look no further than Paleo Diet websites, blogs and cookbooks (1-3, 4-8) to find salt included in virtually all meal plans, menus and dietary recommendations given to the Paleo Diet community by so-called “experts” consisting of charismatic bloggers (1-3) and non-scientific authors (1-3, 4-8).

One of the primary sources of salt in the U.S. Diet comes from processed meats (9). I have previously spoken about the multitude of health problems associated with salt consumption. Please review my blogs showing the harmful effects of salt (10-16).

It is inconceivable how any rational person, much less leaders (1-3) in the Paleo Diet community could advocate the use of salt laden processed meats in contemporary Paleo Diets. High sodium diets are unequivocally recognized to promote high blood pressure, stroke and cardiovascular disease (9, 17-19). Further, more recent research shows that high salt diets increase the likelihood of autoimmune disease (20-23), immune dysfunction (24-29) and create a cellular environment that encourages cancer growth of all types (30-35).

Results

Listed below is a table of the salt content (both Na+ and K+ concentrations) of processed meats and their fresh unsalted counterparts. A potassium (K+) concentration greater than a Na+ (sodium) concentration of (>1.00) is healthful of which no processed meats exhibit, including bacon. Without being a nutritional scientist, you can see for yourself from the table below, that virtually all processed, cured and smoked meats represent a hazardous food which far exceed the human daily recommendation for sodium of 2300 mg (9, 17-19).

Cured MeatsNa+ mg/1000 kcalK+ mg/1000 kcalK+/Na+
Prosciutto Ham1382126150.19
Ham, cured1031325240.24
Smoked Beef Sliced1016623870.23
Beef Lunch Meat954726320.28
Canadian Bacon, cured897521910.24
Smoked Ham Sliced847220860.25
Turkey Salami Cotto707214770.21
Smoked Turkey Sliced685020560.30
Turkey Salami683014690.22
Beef Cotto Salami635410060.16
Olive Loaf631512640.20
Pastrami602014290.24
Smoked Chicken Sliced578215520.27
Chicken Lunch Meat55549200.17
Spam540324140.45
Headcheese, Pork52871970.04
Salami Dry Sausage52219820.19
Beerwurst Sausage521010630.20
Turkey Drumstick smoked498014000.28
Genoa Salami47068610.18
Corned Beef45185780.13
Turkey Wing smoked450712040.27
Beef Salami43687110.16
Bacon427010440.24
Ham Lunch Meat422212980.31
Vienna Sausage42134390.10
Mortadella40065240.13
Hot Dog Wiener37595240.14
Thuringer Sausage35917180.20
Braunschweiger35476090.17
Italian Sausage35098840.25
Summer Sausage34814840.14
Mettwurst Sausage34718740.25
Pepperoni Sausage33465650.17
Smokie links sausage Oscar Mayer33345960.18
Scrapple, Pork30947420.24
Knockwurst Sausage30296480.21
Kielbasa Sausage29269710.33
Chicken wings Barbequed29159000.31
Bratwurst28559530.33
Chorizo27148750.32
Pork link sausage269415730.58
Liverwurst26385210.20
Turkey link sausage24899740.39
Bologna239110230.43
Salt Pork, cured1904880.05
Blood sausage17941000.06
Bockwurst Sausage16808970.53
Pate de Foie Gras15092990.20
Goose liver pate, smoked15092990.20
Fresh, Unsalted Meats Na+ mg/1000 kcalK+ mg/1000 kcalK+/Na+
Fresh, unsalted lamb loin27214305.25
Fresh, unsalted Beef Sirloin32419546.04
Fresh, unsalted Pork Sirloin27517786.47


Conclusions

Although, virtually all non-scientific, Paleo Diet bloggers (1-3, 4-8) advocate the use of added, mined salt to their recipes, menus and meals, there is absolutely no evolutionary data to support this viewpoint (36-39).

Indeed, the best available evidence supports the notion that elevated salt intake is directly responsible for increased risk of high blood pressure, stroke and cardiovascular disease (9, 17-19), increased risk for autoimmune disease (20-23), increased risk for immune dysfunction (24-29) and increased risk for cancer (30-35). This information is perhaps the most important issue where the Paleo Diet community is lost, confused and in error via the misinformation provided by non-scientific, ill-informed Paleo Diet Blogger (1-3, 4-8).

Cordially,
Loren

References

1.https://robbwolf.com/2011/05/20/the-path-to-culinary-bliss-home-cured-bacon/

2.//www.marksdailyapple.com/a-quick-guide-to-bacon/

3.https://chriskresser.com/the-nitrate-and-nitrite-myth-another-reason-not-to-fear-bacon/

4.https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0451498569?tag=randohouseinc28311-20

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6.https://www.amazon.com/Practical-Paleo-2nd-Updated-Expanded/dp/1628600004/ref=zg_bs_7114436011_7?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=SSZKNN0SYYH12J1RVKTC

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8.https://www.amazon.com/Nom-Paleo-Food-Humans/dp/1449450334/ref=zg_bs_7114436011_17?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=SSZKNN0SYYH12J1RVKTC

9.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Vital signs: food categories contributing the most to sodium consumption - United States, 2007-2008. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2012 Feb 10;61(5):92-8.

10.//thepaleodiet.com/a-rare-and-never-before-published-book-chapter-concerning-salt-and-cancer/

11.//thepaleodiet.com/dietary-salt-impairs-the-endothelial-glycocalyx-the-most-important-cardiovascular-disease-risk-factor-you-may-never-have-heard-about/

12.//thepaleodiet.com/the-sea-salt-controversy-important-updates-for-your-2017-new-years-resolution/

13.//thepaleodiet.com/revisiting-sea-salt-dr-cordain-responds-to-a-readers-comment/

14.//thepaleodiet.com/new-studies-on-salt-adverse-influence-upon-immunity-inflammation-and-autoimmunity/

15.//thepaleodiet.com/celtic-sea-salt/

16.//thepaleodiet.com/sea-salt-devil-deep-blue-sea/

17.McDonough AA, Veiras LC, Guevara CA, Ralph DL. Cardiovascular benefits associated with higher dietary K+ vs. lower dietary Na+: evidence from population and mechanistic studies. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2017 Apr 1;312(4): E348-E356.

18.Mozaffarian D, Fahimi S, Singh GM, Micha R, Khatibzadeh S, Engell RE, Lim S, Danaei G, Ezzati M, Powles J, et al. Global burden of diseases nutrition and chronic diseases expert group.

Global sodium consumption and death from cardiovascular causes. N Engl J Med. 2014 Aug 14;371(7):624-34

19.He FJ, Li J, Macgregor GA. Effect of longer-term modest salt reduction on blood pressure. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Apr 30;(4):CD004937

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21.Kleinewietfeld M, Manzel A, Titze J, Kvakan H, Yosef N, Linker RA, Muller DN, Hafler DA.  Sodium chloride drives autoimmune disease by the induction of pathogenic TH17 cells. Nature. 2013 Apr 25;496(7446):518-22

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