Some examples of processed meats are bacon, sausage and lunch meats like bologna. Chicken nuggets, hamburger patties and kebabs are also examples of processed meats.
The term "processed" simply refers to the fact that the meat has been transformed from its original state into the manner it will be served. For example, a plain chicken breast is not processed, but once it is ground up and prepared as chicken nuggets, it is considered processed.
There are six different categories of processed meats, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations:
- Raw cooked
- Raw fermented
Conventional processed meats are commonly found in the deli counter and include all meat products that have been cured or packaged in a casing. Fresh processed meats may be manipulated beyond just slicing or grinding, but they do not generally have as many additives or go through as many changes as other processed meats. These meats may be salted or seasoned, but they are not cured.
Certain studies, such as the findings published by the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition in 2013, have shown adverse affects from eating a diet with too much processed meat. Healthier alternatives include all white meat chicken, turkey that is roasted and sliced at home and other protein sources such as beans and tofu.