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Cured Meats Linked to Lung Cancer

Looking for yet another reason to convince your friends to go veggie? A recent study suggests that cured meat, such as hamburgers and bacon, can negatively affect lung function, leading to emphysema and even lung disease or cancer.

Cured meats are high in nitrites, a kind of preservative, that’s been implicated as the cancer-causer. Past research has also linked nitrites to other diseases such as pancreatic, bladder, stomach, gastric and breast cancers. Most veggie burgers and other mock-meats, on the other hand, do not contain any nitrites, and various studies have shown that vegetarians may not only have a lower risk of getting many cancers, but may actually be warding off certain cancers by avoiding nitrites and other meat-related carcinogens.

So meat has officially been linked to nearly every kind of cancer known to man. I wonder how much more it’s going to take to convince people that smoked sausage and bacon at 8 a.m. isn’t a smart way to start the day.


  1. Comment by


    on #

    Not to be picky, but I don’t think a hamburger qualifies as cured meat. Just sayin’.

  2. Comment by


    on #

    Agreed. I think maybe they meant to say hot dogs, that’s what the original article mentions.

  3. Comment by


    on #

    It would be interesting to see a study of which diseases affect vegans later on in life, and if it really is any different from the percentages seen in the general population

  4. Comment by


    on #

    I actually did mean to write “hamburgers,” but it probably wasn’t the best example.

    Any meat that is cured/preserved with nitrites is included here, which does actually include some hamburgers (even a few soy burgers).

    However, there are much better examples I could have used that contain more hazardous amounts of nitrites, such as smoked sausage, hot dogs or cured lunch meat.

  5. Comment by


    on #

    This is the only research I’ve come across so far about vegan mortality rates. It’s a little old, though…

  6. Comment by


    on #

    Whilst as a chef & food writer I am all for the clean up of our food chain and part of that process is the education of the consummer. But I do feel the piece smacks of misinformation and scare-mongering. You can not turn the whole world into vegans with terror tactics. Sure there are large food manufacturers that do bad things with meat…but the same could be said of certain grains and vegetables grown and sold in America.

    I personally believe that when we live in harmony with nature and not constantly try to outsmart it…we all will be better off…even meateaters.
    This is my first visit to your blog so can I ask….Have you shown the same concern for how many GM foods are grown and sold in the US and how a large percentage of the population are blissfully ignorant of this fact? Some European countries now ban the import of certain grains from the US for fear of GM contamination.
    From time to time various scientific papers get smuggled out of companies like monsanto and reading them is scary stuff.
    Kevin Ashton

  7. Comment by


    on #

    Kevin –

    “Misinformation?” Or just absence of other information? The report was about certain meats being linked to lung disease, so that’s what the story is about. I personally don’t see a reason to include information about GM foods in a short post about nitrites in meat, but maybe that’s just me.

    “Scare-mongering?” This is a scary issue. I don’t see any signs of “terror tactics” in this story? Just the facts of the research reported.

  8. Comment by


    on #

    If your going to use someone else?s research material, at least you should read it!
    According to one of these links, there is a problem in Iowa of nitrate contamination in drinking water, due to run off from farming?.but you did not mentioned this in your piece? Or advise people to stop drinking tap water in Iowa.

    So even if a person in Iowa becomes a Vegan in they could still die of bladder cancer if you drink tap water.

    When are you going to apiece on the Gm crop contamination then?
    Kevin Ashton

  9. Comment by


    on #

    Not sure anyone has any plans “to apiece on the Gm crop contamination,” Kevin. But I think I’d rather eat contaminated GM crops and drink the tap water in Iowa than eat that duck recipe on your blog. Maybe you can’t win people over with “terror tactics” on blogs, but you certainly can’t do it with misinformed rants and cooked animals.