Is that “No Nitrite/Nitrate” deli meat better for you?

I thought so…but I was wrong!

A reader asked the ques­tion “can you tell me what cul­tured cel­ery juice is”?

After much research, I have found that it’s hard find out exactly what it is and how it come to be, but it’s used in place of nitrites and nitrates found in deli meats and bacon.  This is done because nitrites and nitrates used as a preser­v­a­tive to cure deli meats, hot dogs, and bacon, has been linked to pan­cre­atic can­cer and blad­der can­cer.  A 2007 study “con­vinc­ing cause” to link­ing processed meat with col­orec­tal cancer.  

To avoid this, and as a mar­ket­ing ploy, many of the com­pa­nies are now using a nat­ural sub­sti­tute, cul­tured cel­ery juice.  Because this comes from a “nat­ural” source, the pack­age can read “all nat­ural” and “nitrite/nitrate free – except those found nat­u­rally in cel­ery juice”.

Have you seen these – brands like Hormel, Apple­gate, and a host of oth­ers?  I’ve bought them since they came on the mar­ket, paid more for them, told oth­ers about them, and what do I find?  That we have all been mis­led!! 

The cel­ery juice, which con­tains nitrites and nitrates nat­u­rally, is extracted or a pow­der form is used, and added to meats.  Veg­gies with nitrates/nitrates occur­ring nat­u­rally are fine to eat as they are because they have other nutrients/vitamins that coun­ter­act the car­cino­gens formed.  How­ever, with­out the other nutri­ents, you’re just get­ting the cancer-causing carcinogens.

Bot­tom line, a nitrate is a nitrate and a nitrite is a nitrite when it comes to processed deli meats.  And because the cel­ery juice is a “nat­ural” form and isn’t reg­u­lated or mea­sured, you may actu­ally be get­ting more nitrites/nitrates in the reg­u­lar, “No Nitrite/Nitrate” version. 

Bot­tom line, stay away from processed foods – and that includes deli meats, hot dogs, and bacon.  If you must eat them, one prod­uct isn’t bet­ter than the other as far as nitrates go, so don’t get caught up in the hype and mar­ket­ing of “all nat­ural” and keep it to a min­i­mum!  I’ll have none, thank you!

Here are the sources I used for this arti­cle.  Read on for more info.


  • Thanks on your mar­velous post­ing! I really enjoyed read­ing it, you hap­pen to be a great author.I will be sure to book­mark your blog and will even­tu­ally come back down the road. I want to encour­age you to ulti­mately con­tinue your great writ­ing, have a nice afternoon!

  • Amber

    Another AWESOME read! I under­stand that you say no prod­uct is bet­ter than the other, when it comes to deli meat. My ques­tion to you (and any­one else out there) is, aside from the No Nitrate/Nitrate Free meats, what would be the “best” can­di­date for deli meat pur­chases?? Inquir­ing minds would like to know!

    Thanks again Rachelle…

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