Tapa, longganisa dangerous to health – expert

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Well-loved Filipino meat delicacies like tapa and longanisa can also be bad for health, an official from the National Nutrition Council (NNC) said on Tuesday.

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These two breakfast favorites can be included in the list of meat products that the World Health Organization (WHO) warned can cause cancer, NNC Chief of Nutrition Policy and Planning Maria Lourdes Vega said.

“We all know that processed foods have higher levels of salt and fats, and preservatives like nitrates are also added to them. When we continuously consume food with preservatives, [the salt and fats]will accumulate in the body and will eventually take a toll,” Vega said.

Parents, she said, should avoid feeding their children processed food to prevent obesity at a young age.

“We should encourage the whole family to be active and eat healthy foods, especially the mothers because they are mostly the ones who prepare the food. If they don’t eat fruits and vegetables, chances are the children won’t eat them either,” Vega stressed.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), WHO’s cancer agency, reported last week that the consumption of processed meat and red meat can increase the risk of contracting different types of cancer.

Processed meats such as hotdogs, sausages, ham, corned beef, canned meat, beef jerky, and meat-based preparations and sauces were classified as “carcinogenic to humans.” The agency reported that the consumption of 50 gram portion daily can increase the risk of colorectal cancer by 18 percent.

Meanwhile, red meats such as beef, pork, veal, lamb, mutton, horse, and goat, were classified as “probably carcinogenic to humans” which may also cause colorectal cancer, as well as pancreatic cancer and prostate cancer.

Vega noted that there are no healthy alternatives to these Filipino delicacies, and that the best way is to consume more fresh meats and produce than processed products.

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