Published on January 30th, 2012 | by Kim LaCapria0
Spam Linked to Risk of Diabetes in Native American Populations
One of the larger trends in food and health is the rejection of overly processed choices in favor of fresh, locally sourced, minimally handled or “whole foods.”
Spam might be the most iconic of all processed foods, a product with some kitsch appeal and a devout following in some more isolated areas of the country- like Hawaii, where it is even popular in sushi form. But often access to foods of a higher quality- such as fresh meat or local produce- is tied to socioeconomic status, with “food deserts” a known contributor to issues like childhood obesity and diabetes. Residents of areas not served by a supermarket or farmer’s market are often forced to eat foods that are more shelf stable- foods that are often high in fat, sodium and preservatives and low on nutrition.
Research has emerged linking higher than normal consumption of processed meats and the onset of diabetes, and the link is particularly strong in Native American communities- in which many residents both rely of subsidized food and develop diabetes by the age of 55. (In these populations, as many as half of the residents are diabetic at that age.) Some researchers theorized that the high presence of sodium in the product and similar foods may be affecting the health outcomes of those who consume a larger than normal amount of foods like processed meat or Spam
The American Meat Institute told Reuters that “processed meats are a safe and nutritious part of a balanced diet.”