I write a lot about sport-specific nutritional topics, but today let’s transition a bit to something that is good information for all people, parents and students, swimmers and non-swimmers alike.
I’ve always been a bit enamored by the number of kids I see eating hot dogs during swim meets. This might be particularly localized to the Pacific Northwest, as the main pool in the area has a hot dog stand right in the lobby, but even if that’s the case, it’s a pretty interesting site to see: Young Johnny, preparing to give it his all to make his Senior Sectionals cut has put the hours in the pool, he has sweat and cried during his training, he has listened to his coach’s every word, done everything his body could possibly do. And now, at the moment of truth, the hour before his race he’s…. eating a hot dog. Probably not the best idea. But, that’s another column. Instead, in this column, I’ll focus on some new research that has been released about why, in general, it’s best for all of us to avoid processed meats.
Coming out of the Harvard School of Public Health and appearing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, research is now showing us that people who eat processed meats are at a higher risk of Type 2 diabetes. The findings, which were compiled after following the diets of more than 200,000 people for a decade, found that even just two-ounces a day of processed meat, such as those hot dogs, bacon, salami or bologna, increased the risk of developing diabetes by as much as 50%.
The lead researcher of the effort, Frank Hu, is a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School. According to him, the high levels of nitrites and sodium in the processed meats are likely to blame for the increased risk.
So, as tasty as those Ball Park franks might be, it looks like you would do well to limit them to special occasions. For your protein, turn more to sources like fresh fish, chicken and eggs, among other natural sources, and away from things like bologna and packaged lunch meats.
Nathan Jendrick is the author of the recently released book Gym-Free and Ripped