Meat and processed meat products contribute to the nutritive and functional properties of a diet; but, on the other hand, they can also cause civilization diseases. The main civilization illnesses include: obesity, arterial hypertension, coronary heart disease, chronic peptic ulcer disease, and allergosis. Obesity should not be considered only as a result of eating meat by or of low physical activity of the individual, though those factors support the supervention of this illness. Recently, scientific reports published suggest that bacteria living in the human small intestine are responsible for obesity, especially two groups of bacteria: Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes. In obese people, bacteria of the Firmicutes group outweigh the other bacteria. Prion diseases and poisons-related contamination appeared to be a real threat in the second half of the 20th century. In the human and animal organisms, about fifty poisons are found; among them, there are fifteen dioxins and furans. Thermal treating and long-term storage of improperly protected meat products create favourably conditions for unsaturated fatty acids contained in them to oxidize, and this reduces their usefulness for consumption. Salt applied to preserve meat and to improve its flavour can be harmful to the human body. Nitrites used to cure meat, in particular nitrosoamines produced during thermal treatment, change haemoglobin into metahemoglobin, thus, generating blood circulation system disorders both in humans and animals. Those compounds also contribute to the supervention of neoplastic diseases. Thermal treatment of meat, especially at high temperatures, creates favourable conditions for carcinogenic compounds to occur, such as heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. The highest concentrations of carcinogenic compounds are found in meat products that are partly burnt during frying or roasting/ grilling. Another problem is meat contaminated by viruses, bacteria, and parasites, which can provoke epizootic diseases in humans. Parasitic diseases (trichinosis, toxoplasmosis, taeniasis) are still a vital epidemiological problem. More and more frequently, allergies are the reaction of human organism to compounds contained in meat and meat products.
meat, consumption, civilization diseases