Does Maple Leaf “Natural Selections” Contain Nitrites?
The question here is…is there a difference between “natural” vs “chemically” derived nitrite?
The Maple Leaf website states that “We removed artificial preservatives and replaced them with sea salt, lemon juice and cultured celery extract, which are natural preservatives.” It would be more accurate to state that cultured celery extract is a natural source of nitrite (celery is loaded with nitrate), or that they’re using nitrate derived from celery. When asked to compare cultured celery extract to sodium nitrate in this CBC news article, nutrition expert Dr. Yoni Freedhoff said “for all intents and purposes it is bio-chemically identical.” Read more here.
However, the source of these “nitrites” are “cultured celery extract”…a healthier version than the chemically derived. But is this healthier?
A recent article published in the Huffington Post, The Nitrite Nightmare, suggests a spin:
“So can nitrites build up in your body? The simple answer is no, nitrites are actually depleted before they have a chance to build up. The majority of nitrites are excreted through urine within five hours of ingestion. The human body actually produces nitrites naturally. Salivary nitrites (those produced by your salivary glands) account for the majority of your total nitrite exposure due to the fact that most nitrite (50-70 percent) is consumed through fruits and vegetable. Post consumption nitrate is converted to nitrite after coming in contact with your salvia.Recent studies have actually shown that the exposure to nitrites are beneficial for immune and cardiovascular function and are being studied as a potential treatment for hypertension, heart attacks and sickle cell and circulatory disorders…”
And then there are those who say that nitrites cause cancer. Such is the case in an article written by Mike Adams (from Natural News):
“Sodium nitrite is a dangerous, cancer-causing ingredient that has no place in the human food supply,” he explains. The USDA actually tried to ban sodium nitrite in the 1970’s, but was preempted by the meat processing industry, which relies on the ingredient as a color fixer to make foods look more visually appealing. “The meat industry uses sodium nitrite to sell more meat products at the expense of public health,” says Adams. “And this new research clearly demonstrates the link between the consumption of processed meats and cancer.”
So what gives?
Personally, I believe the bigger issue here is “processed” meats. Is the meat from organically raised animals? What has been added? Certainly…I would not worry about salt and celery! This reminds me of how people worry a lot about naturally occurring MSG…which comes from amino acids.
What do you think? I would love to hear your comments!!