Beware of cold cuts Beware of cold cuts

Beware of cold cuts

Keep in mind 30 June, 2016 Activa Mesa de ayuda

Avoid consuming processed foods excessively. It is preferable to opt for fresh produce and natural preparations.

By Gloria Abad Velez. Nutritionist with Coomeva Medicina Prepagada.

Perhaps you are the type of person who loves sausages. What you probably enjoy most is that salty taste that most of these products have. However, it is precisely because they undergo that manipulation that these foods can be dangerous to human health when consumed in excess. So while you can still enjoy them, be careful not to make them part of your daily diet.

A classification published by the World Health Organization (WHO) in October 2015, stated that there is sufficient evidence that processed meats – i.e., meats that have been transformed to enhance their flavor or extend their shelf life (including sausages)- are carcinogenic to humans. Processed foods such as bacon, sausages, salami, ham, beef jerky, canned, smoked and/or cured meets, or meats to which salt or preservatives have been added, are all included in this list.

The consumption of these foods should be moderate, as some of their components may favor the development of tumors and cancer.

How they affect your health

The risk with processed meats is in the amount of meat consumed. According to nutritionist Gloria Abad Velez, “a study shows that eating more than 20 grams of processed meat, such as sausages, can increase mortality by 3.3%, but the odds are greater the more these kinds of products are consumed”.

Averaging the information obtained by ten different studies analyzed by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), it is estimated that, if consumed on a daily basis, a 50-gram portion of processed meat can increase by about 18% the risk of colorectal cancer. Also, the latest estimates released by the Global Burden of Disease project, attributed approximately 34 thousand annual cancer deaths to diets rich in cold cuts and processed meats.

But beyond cancer, explains the nutritionist, the sodium concentration in cold cuts and sausages is very high, and this can directly affect your blood flow, which can become a trigger for people who suffer from hypertension, as it can worsen their condition.

For many people, these foods can be delicious, however, an excessive consumption of processed meats can prove to be harmful to your health at various levels, not only for those suffering from high blood pressure, but also because it can give rise to diseases that affect the respiratory and circulatory tracts due to the amount of saturated fats and other added components that can be quite unhealthy.

Being more careful

WHO findings do not mean you must completely eliminate processed meats and sausages from your diet. Their proper consumption will depend on each our bodies, and the specific risks that they represent for each one of us.

However, the main problem is excessive consumption, so what they suggest is that we eat these foods in moderation. According to Abad, it is recommended that you eat these foods no more than once a week and with portions not exceeding 60 grams, given that the larger the amounts, the greater the risk of disease. An example would be one Viennese sausage, or just over a slice of cooked ham per week.

Additionally, it is important to maintain healthy lifestyles that include a physical activity plan and a balanced diet.

We also suggest that you include in your food plan fresh and natural products such as milk and dairy products; chicken, fish, beef or pork; fresh vegetables and fruits; whole grains; legumes; tubers; grains and good quality oils.

Types of cold cuts

Cold cuts are divided into different classes depending on their preparation:

  •  Fresh

  • Dry, semi-dry

  • Cooked

  • Smoked uncooked

  • Smoked cooked

  • Those made using cooked meats.

    Most of them are served cold, although some may also be consumed as an ingredient in a recipe.


To avoid eating foods that are highly industrially processed, as is the case of cold cuts, you must be aware of the damage they cause to your body and look for practical, healthy options such as roasted, cooked, or barbecued meats, or meatloaves, always flavored with natural herbs.