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Old 25-10-2015, 01:50 PM   #2
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Are sausages bad for you?
New research says that people who eat processed meat have an increased risk of an early death. Does this mean we have to give up sausages – or will we be OK if we buy posh bangers and grill rather than fry them?

Sausages: grilled, fresh sausages with a low fat content are better for you but still carry a risk. .
Felicity Cloake

Felicity Cloake

Thursday 7 March 2013 14.01 GMT

Sausages have never been known as the healthiest food. But what makes them so dangerous?

The things that are causing all the fuss are chemicals called nitrites and nitrates, which once in the body can be converted into cancer-causing compounds. These, according to a spokesman for Cancer Research UK, occur naturally in red meat, but are also often added during meat-processing as a preservative.

All red meat also contains a red pigment called haems, which, once in the gut, can be broken down to form N-nitroso compounds, or NOCs, many of which are known to cause cancer. Additionally, haems may irritate or damage the cells lining the bowel, which can lead to them dividing more rapidly – exactly the kind of action that is more likely to increase the risk of developing cancer.
That doesn't sound good. Any more bad news on this?

The combination of the two, as well as sausages' relatively high fat and salt content, which have also been linked to increased risks of developing cancer, has led to the advice to cut down on both processed and red meat.
I've heard stories of terrible things ending up in a sausage. Can I spend my way out of trouble by buying sausages with a high meat content?

As Cancer Research observes: "It's not about low-quality or low-grade meat in this instance, it's about the meat itself, and what's been added – we know too much salt has been linked to an increased risk in stomach cancer for example."

Although a high meat content is often an indicator of a better-quality sausage (look for sausages that are at least 70% meat), it also means that there will be less of the other ingredients that can reduce the fat content of meat, such as cereals, or the fruit and vegetables often added to modern sausages for flavour (such as leek or apple). There are many things you can do to limit your risk of cancer, but sadly, buying expensive sausages isn't one of them. Cut down your consumption instead.
Is there anything I can look for on the label that will lead me to a healthy sausage?

Choose fresh sausages for a start, and check the list of ingredients: the fewer the better. In terms of general health, look for sausages with a relatively low saturated fat and salt content – or, even better, poultry sausages.
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