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What Low Carb Dieters Should Know About Nitrates And Nitrites
Nitrates and nitrites are preservatives that are added to certain meats to affect a desirable color and prevent the growth of poisons and bacteria. When nitrates and nitrites are exposed to heat and other conditions during the curing process, they are sometimes transformed into nitrosamines, which have been linked to cancer in a number of studies.
In addition to this, nitrates and nitrites have been linked to "stalling"--or unexpected stops in weight loss--even when consumers are on low carb diets, such as Atkins, that specifically prescribe the consumption of meat that could potentially contain nitrates and nitrites.
Most meats that contain nitrates and nitrites (sausage, bacon, ham, and some types of smoked fish) also have high amounts of fat. This could, in part, explain for the stalling--if the fat intake far surpasses the prescribed amount (for low carb diets) needed to "satiate" the body and prevent it secretion of hormones that stall weight-loss.
Cured meats are also generally high in LDL cholesterol, which experts say is responsible for clogging arteries, when it slowly deposits and then mixes with other compounds to form plaque, a hard substance that blocks passageways, preventing the flow of blood to the heart.
If you subscribe to a low carb weight loss plan, you should monitor your intake of nitrates and nitrites carefully to mitigate the accumulation of carcinogenic nitrosamines and prevent "stalls" or high levels of bad cholesterol caused by over-consumption of fatty cured meats.
If you do continue to consume a sizable portion of these meats on your low carb diet, you should try to find a source of preservative-free, fresh meat, whether it be a local butcher or a mail-order meat source.
In addition, you should specifically choose meats and portions that keep your cholesterol consumption below 300 mg/day--and your fat intake at a reasonable level according to the precepts of your low carb diet.
Benji Paras runs http://www.list-of-low-carb-food.com, specializing in the benefits of the low-carb lifestyle. The site contains a treasure trove of information for losing weight, and includes a list of low carb foods along with informative articles and the latest low-carb headlines.
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