Nitrites and nitrates are traditional food additives used as curing agents in the food industry. They inhibit the growth of microorganisms and give a typical pink color to meat. Besides the positive effects of nitrite in foods, if present at high levels in the body, may induce hypoxia and contribute to the production of pro-carcinogenic secondary N-nitrosamines. This study investigated the whole-body metabolic effects of hemin and nitrite added to a high fat diet as red and processed red meat nutritional models. Mice were fed for 11 weeks with five different diets - (1) control diet (ND), (2) high fat diet (HFD) with 60% fat, (3) HFD with hemin (HFD + H, red meat model), (4) HFD with hemin and nitrite (HFD + HN, processed meat model), and (5) HFD with hemin, nitrite, and secondary amine (HFD + HNN, N-nitrosamine generating model) - and several metabolic parameters were determined and respiratory measurements were performed. Mice fed with the HFD + H or HFD + HNN diet had a lower epididymal white adipose tissue (eWAT) : body ratio and lower fasting glucose level than those fed the HFD alone. In addition, our results demonstrated a relief in hepatosteatosis grade among the HFD + H and HFD + HNN diet fed mice. Nitrite added to the HFD impaired the ability to use fat for energy, opposite to the effect of hemin. This study shows that nitrite in addition to pro-carcinogenesis and hypoxia can impact metabolic disease progression when added to meat.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Diabetes research center, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Ministry of Health, State of Israel, grant no. 3-0000-16286.
© 2021 The Royal Society of Chemistry.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Food Science