American Meat Institute Foundation President James Hodges said Monday a new study linking nitrite and nitrate intake from processed meats to a potential increased risk of bladder cancer creates unnecessary confusion in regard to the issue of diet and its effect on health. The study states a myth that cured meats are the main source of ingested nitrite when in reality less than 5% actually comes from cured meats. The human body actually produces nitrite as part of its healthy, normal nitrogen cycle. Even the U.S. National Toxicology Program, known for determining substances causing cancer, has found nitrite isn't associated with cancer.
Hodges states this study itself isn't sufficient enough to establish cause and effect, but it does allow the researchers to conduct other studies to identify associations. He says the study has already come under intense scrutiny from the scientific community because there is no data presented that is statistically significant by conventional statistical rules. Hodges goes on to say total evidence has shown a balanced diet and a healthy body weight are the keys to good health, and meat contains protein, amino acids and essential nutrients that can and should be part of a healthy, balanced diet and lifestyle.