Health & Spirit

Misleading labeling on deli meats

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

In the 1973 movie "Soylent Green," detective Frank Thorn (Charlton Heston) investigates the Soylent Corporation, a rations manufacturer (the year is 2022), only to find that the wafers they make for a starving population aren't made from soy plus lentils (hence soy-lent), they're made from ... processed people!

We've told you repeatedly that highly processed foods are not something you want to eat! But if you've been buying bacon and lunch meats that proclaim "no nitrites or nitrates added," or that say they're "uncured" and you thought that meant they're better for you than conventional versions of those products, well, say soy-long to that illusion. That labeling is downright misleading.

A recent Consumer Reports study found that "no nitrites" doesn't mean there's no nitrites -- and that's legal! What it means is that nitrates and nitrites used to preserve and flavor the food come from celery and other natural sources, not synthetic ones like sodium nitrite. And when CR tested 31 packaged deli meat, they found the "nitrite free" chicken, ham, roast beef, salami and turkey had around the same amount of those bad-for-you chemicals as conventional products.

Why does this matter? Added nitrites have been linked to an increased risk for diabetes, heart disease and cancer -- in fact, a study in JNCI Cancer Spectrum estimates that more than 14,500 cancer cases annually are linked to eating processed meats.

So when you're making lunch, choose lean, fresh poultry and seafood, along with vegetables like edamame (soy) and cold lentil salad or a hot soup!



Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit

(c) 2019 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2019 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


blog comments powered by Disqus

Social Connections


Andy Marlette Meaning of Lila Breaking Cat News Mike Smith Nest Heads Curtis