An article published by Reuters pointed to a correlation between certain foods and leukemia risk, but not necessarily to cause and effect. It was in the online journal BMC Cancer where researchers studied 515 Taiwanese children and teenagers with and without acute leukemia. They found that those participants who consumed processed meats and fish more than once a week had a 74percentt higher risk of developing leukemia than those who did not consume cured meats. The study went on to show that ingesting vegetables and soy products could lower the risk of leukemia by half when compared to other participants who did not ingest vegetables or soy products.
Dr. David C. Christiani from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and also one of the researchers of the group investigated cured meats such as bacon, ham and hot dogs, as well as traditional Chinese staples like dried salted duck, salted fish and Chinese-style sausage. Dr. Christiani went on to conclude that since most cured meats contain nitrites and nitrosamines, cured meats in any and all cultures might be the culprit rather than a specific type of meat in general.
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Cured meats may not be the healthiest food choice since the curing process involves the use of chemicals known as nitrites. In the Reuters article, the research explained: ‘during the curing process, foods are preserved and flavored by the addition of salt, sugar and chemicals called nitrites; the foods are often smoked as well. Nitrites are precursors to compounds known as nitrosamines, which are potentially cancer-promoting.’
A study which was published on PubMed and was conducted in the Los Angeles County of California found that human NOC intake is associated with leukemia risk, given potential biases in the data, further study of this hypothesis with more focused and comprehensive epidemiologic studies is warranted. The study went on to illustrate that children who ate hot dogs more than twelve times a month had nine times the normal risk of developing childhood leukemia.
In another study published on PubMed which was done by researchers Sarusua and Savitz in Denver, Colorado, researchers were once again able to show a correlation between the consumption of hot dogs and increased cancer risk. Mothers who ate hot dogs more than once a week while pregnant increased their child’s chances of developing a brain tumor by almost two times. The study looked at ‘ham, bacon, or sausage; hot dogs; hamburgers; bologna, pastrami, corned beef, salami, or lunch meat; charcoal broiled foods’ and found that ‘maternal hot-dog consumption of one or more times per week was associated with childhood brain tumors’ and ‘among children, eating hamburgers one or more times per week was associated with risk of [childhood cancer.]’
In an article done by the Global Healing Center, they looked at the preservatives in hot dogs known as nitrites. These nitrites, when cooked, combine with amines naturally present in meat to form carcinogenic N-nitroso compounds. It is also suspected that nitrites combine with amines in the human stomach to form N-nitroso compounds. These compounds are carcinogens and have been associated with cancer of the oral cavity, bladder, esophagus, stomach, and brain.
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While nitrites can be found in vegetables such as celery, spinach and lettuce (among many others), vegetables have been shown to be effective in reducing the risk of cancer. This is because nitrites in vegetables have vitamins C and D which help prevent the formation of N-nitroso compounds which are carcinogenic. While not ALL hot dogs increase the risk of childhood cancer, hot dogs which contain nitrites could be dangerous to your child’s health. It is important to look for nitrite-free hot dogs which have a brownish color and tastes about the same. But to be completely on the safe side, it is recommended to stay away from cured meats.
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