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and also, what exactly does this do to the meat, how does it change it? how do health benefits change from processing meats?

i try to eat healthy and im just researching what more i should stay away from
The meat in the butcher section of the grocery store is fine - steaks, roasts, chickens, pork chops, etc. It is the cold cuts that are processed.

Those are made from ground up meat and other parts, along with sugars preservatives and other chemical additives then are squeezed together in huge machines, then they are sliced. Also the pre-packaged meat products - the pre-packaged burgers, the stuffed turkey breasts in the boxes, the turkey rolls - all those meats are processed.

You can tell by looking at them - they look more like cold cuts than like actual good meats.
Copied from the following website http://nutrition.about.com/od/askyournutritionist/f/processedfoods.htm

Processed foods have been altered from their natural state for safety reasons and for convenience. The methods used for processing foods include canning, freezing, refrigeration, dehydration and aseptic processing.

We tend to think of processed foods as bad, but it turns out that many processed foods are not unhealthy. For example, milk would be considered a processed food because it is pasteurized to kill bacteria and homogenized to keep fats from separating. While some people prefer to drink raw milk, most of us should consume the "processed" version we find in our grocery stores.

Another healthy example of food processing is frozen vegetables. While fresh may be best, freezing vegetables preserves vitamins and minerals and makes them convenient to cook and eat all year around. Fruit and vegetable juice is also an example of a healthy processed food. In fact, some orange juice is fortified with calcium to make it even more nutritious.

Of course, there are a lot of processed foods that aren't good for you. Many processed foods are made with trans fats, saturated fats, and large amounts of sodium and sugar. These types of foods should be avoided, or at least eaten sparingly.

Processed meats might be some of the worst of these foods. Eating these meats may increase your risk of colorectal, kidney and stomach cancer. Processed meats include hot dogs, bologna, sausage, ham and other packaged lunch meats.

These processed foods and prepackaged meals are very convenient and popular. If you do shop for these foods, be sure to look for products that are made with whole grains, low in sodium and calories, and free of trans fats. Make sure you pay attention to serving size, too, and balance out the processed foods you eat with a delicious fresh salad and some whole grain bread.
I recently watched the documentary Food, Inc, and highly suggest you watch this. After viewing the movie, I switched to organic meats. All meats (unless organic) have some degree of processing, unless they are coded as "All Natural", such as Laura's Lean Beef. I buy this product when I cannot make it to Whole Foods to buy organic. "All Natural" is second best to organic - no fillers. Processed can mean fillers (ick - cow parts mixed with the beef and rinsed with ammonia to kill the e. coli), salt, sugars, mixed with other meats and often with other cattle or poultry. It just depends on the type of meat (deli, ground beef, turkey sausage etc.) and the manufacturer. Most of them will not tell you what this means, which is scary. I called Jennie-O recently (Turkey company) and was told I was not "privy to the information" and "it cannot be disclosed at this time." If you can afford it, organic meats are even more important than organic vegetables. I think the more green we become globally, the more awareness will be raised about the importance of organic and the ethical treatment of animals. I was never a believer and thought it was just people who had too much money on their hands - not so. Good luck and great job with the question!
processed implies they have been processed, not just cuts of meat straight of the bone. Sausages, all those kinds of meat rolls, some hams. most convenience foods.
These things they 'extend' with fillers, they add preservatives, all kinds of powders & potions for stability.
They are just full of so much stuff it's no wonder poor people who are eating this cra p because it's all they can aford- die younger.
Personally I won't eat anything witch is mot natural, there is a whole section of the supermarket I avoid, all the cold cuts, those packets of sliced meats floating in nitrates, cheap bacon, ham etc.
It's not natural for food to last so long in a cabinet, bacon is no longer smoked, smokey flavoured whey is added to it. Poison!
if it comes from a grocery store its been processed.
watch movie "Food Inc."
If you buy your meat from the market, it is processed. Meat comes from factories and is kept and killed in abhorrent conditions. If you HAVE to eat meat, buy it from a local farmer and get it butchered yourself.

My best advice to you if you want to live a long and healthy life is to become a 'raw vegan'
Go here for a very informative website:

Any sort of "processed" meats would have a list of ingredients - and the ingredients aren't usually very healthy - lots of BHT and sugar and other crapola. Clean meat doesn't carry any list of ingredients.

If you can, find a place where you can watch the butcher work - and you can ask him questions. Meat is probably the most healthy thing humans can get - after eggs - and lots of people actually could use a little extra meat fat after years of the American "fat free" diet which has made everybody fat as a barrel.

If you want to read up on protein diet, get a used copy of Atkins - "New Diet Revolution" off of Amazon - interesting read.
First class foods Inc is committed to excellence and innovation in the processing of Beef, Veal, Pork, Lamb,Poultry, process meats and game products with the promise to uphold the highest standards in food safety, procedures and technology.
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