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Deli Meats, Nitrites and Low Carb

In general, meat is full of protein and has zero carbs. However, deli meats can pose other health problems. It's important to choose wisely when you select your deli meats.

Here's what happens. When you buy a whole turkey to cook in your oven, you cook it for many hours and then eat it. It's natural, healthy and safe. The oven cooking kills any bacteria and you eat it immediately after that.

When you buy a deli, meat, though, it was cooked a while ago. To keep it from spoiling, the food makers then pump it full of nitrites. Even hot dogs have nitrites in them.

Nitrites cause all sorts of serious problems, including brain tumors, cancers and other problems. There are now meat makers who are making nitrite free meats. If you're going to eat a deli meat or hot dog, most definitely make sure you go for the nitrite free variety.

Even so, remember that meat is a breeding ground for bacteria. It must be handled carefully to be safe. Never use a cutting board for meat, and then use it for something you are going to eat raw like vegetables or bread. It's best to keep a separate cutting board for meat, for this reason.

Meats should always be cooked thoroughly. If you get nitrite free deli meats, keep them well refrigerated right until you eat them. Always check the expiration dates before eating. Remember, without nitrites, the meats are going to decay more quickly - be aware of that.

Finally, most meat is zero carb - it is protein, which is a different fuel source from carbohydrates. However, processed deli meats often contain filler that DOES have carbs.

Here are some standard carb counts for processed deli meats.

beef - 1g / 2oz
ham - 3g / 2oz
turkey - 3g / 2oz
hot dogs - 4g / hot dog

If you're curious, the other two types of energy your body can process are fats and alcohols. Those are the four ways your body can take in calories, to give it energy to fuel its metabolism and activities.

Every human needs about .4g of protein per day. So if you're a 100 pound person, that's 40g of protein for basic human functions.

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