Many of us love bacon, hotdogs, and other processed meats. But there’s something associated with these meats that could harm with our health and they’re called nitrates. The initial concern about these chemicals began in the 70s and as time goes by, researchers and interest groups have shown interest regarding the potential effects of nitrates.

What are Nitrates For?

A huge number of meat products contain nitrates, but they are highest in concentration in packaged lunchmeat, cold cuts, bacon, and hotdogs. Nitrates are used during the curing process and when used in fresh meats, they are for coloring the food. Overall, nitrates are valued by meat sellers because they make meats more flavorful and attractive to the consumers.

But What’s So Bad about Nitrates?

A study in 2009 by the Rhode Island Hospital scientists showed how we’re all at risk of dying from serious diseases because of the fertilizers and preservatives used in foods. The nitrates in our food supple continue to increase and therefore raise death rates from diabetes, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Aside from these mentioned diseases, there are other problems associated with nitrates, including:

Nitrates make meats more flavorful and attractive to the consumers / PicHelp


This is probably the biggest concern with nitrates, which actually have a direct link to the growth of cancer cells. Regular consumption of meats and other products that contain the chemicals have a high risk of developing pancreatic and colon cancers.

Respiratory Distress

Further evidence suggests that nitrates have a huge role to play in triggering respiratory distress. Nitrates can irritate the lining of our respiratory tract and this can lead to distress of the lungs –or worse, it could lead to poisoning. Typically, this can case infections and the same thing happens to our stomach. If you’re experiencing stomach pains, nausea, and vomiting, these are symptoms of poisoning.

Skin Absorption

It is also a problem that nitrates are absorbed through the skin. This means that even if you don’t consume nitrates, you can still experience negative effects just by touching meats with the chemicals.

Aside from processed meats, there are actually some natural foods that contain nitrates, including beet roots. These roots reduce the oxygen we need when we exercise and can even provide additional stamina for runners. This means nitrates aren’t all that bad, but when exposed to high heat, they form nitrosamines, which are generally made of potent carcinogens.

You don’t have to give up bacon to eliminate nitrosamine-forming nitrates. Instead of cooking the meat the traditional way, studies show you can reduce formation of nitrosamines by microwaving bacon.


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