Nitrates are used to keep color, prevent the growth of bacteria and act as a preservative. There are naturally-occurring nitrates and nitrites and then there are many companies that add them. Nitrates can be found in leafy green veggies and root vegetables and even in drinking water. Nitrites are produced when nitrates come in contact with certain bacteria. Nitrites are controversial because they combine with the amines in meat to create nitrosamines, which are a carcinogen. The controversy is that the body naturally converts nitrates to nitrites to regulate blood pressure and restore pathogens in the gut, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that added nitrates from hot dogs and bacon is good for the body.
The difference may be huge and it may be nothing. But do you really want to take the chance? Nitrate-free bacon is delicious too.
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