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Processed Meat Increases Pancreatic Cancer Risk

This baseball season, from Dodger Dogs to Fenway Franks, ballparks across the U.S. proudly feature the staple of stadium food — hot dogs. Of course you know hot dogs aren’t exactly the healthiest choice around — but they may actually be unhealthierthan you think. Research from the University of Hawaii and USC recently revealed a link between diets high in processed meats and an increased risk of pancreatic cancer. The data suggest carcinogenic substances related to processed meat preparation may be behind the cancer link, not just the saturated fat content of such products.

A diet rich in pork and red meat increased pancreatic cancer risk by about 50%, the study found, with the consumers who ate the most processed meats 67% more likely to develop the cancer than those with the lowest intake of these foods.

Unless you’ve brought your own healthy snacks, you’ll find yourself at the mercy of concession stands. To forego the franks in favor of healthier fare, check out the suggestions below for our green-light grub.

Peanuts — Root, root, root for this healthy snack filled with protein, fiber and heart-healthy fat.

Grilled chicken sandwich — Better than a burger, especially with mustard instead of mayo.

Sub sandwich — Packed with lettuce, tomatoes, onions and olive oil dressing, it’s a filling alternative to a burger or hot dog (just skip the cold cut variety and instead choose turkey or chicken).

Salad or fruit cup — Serves up a healthy side instead of fries.

One easy way to spot a healthy snack is to skip over the meat and instead grab a vegetarian option. Many ballparks offer staples like a veggie burger or dog, but some mix it up with portabella mushroom sandwiches, grilled veggie wraps or bean burritos.

Published May 2, 2005

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