In Defense of Nitrates


All rise.

Department One of the Superior Court is now in session.

Judge Da Peoples presiding.

Judge: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Calling the case of the People of the State of Confusion v. High NitrAte Vegetables.

Prosecution represented by Abit Konfused: If it pleases the court, Ladies and gentlemen of the jury:  The defendant has been charged with the crime of homicide by food adulteration.  We will show Nitrosamines are a large group of chemical compounds that have been found to be carcinogenic in every species tested (2).  We will further show that NitrAtes can turn into nitRites by bacteria in the mouth and then are swallowed. As nitRites hit the highly acidic juices in stomach, it is converted to nitrous acid, which reacts with amines to form BOOM you guessed it…. nitrosamines(3)

Defense for the accused is just james: Your Honor, Ladies and gentlemen under the law my clients is presumed innocent until proven guilty. During this trial, you will hear no real science against my client. You will come to know the truth: nitrAte is not unhealthy and actually can be beneficial.   NitrAte is very stable and not much will change her, but her brother nitRite insists on carrying less oxygen and he’s a bit unstable.  We will prove this a case of mistaken identity.

Abit Konfused (AK):  the prosecution calls its first witness Dr. Cye N. Tist.   Dr. Tist is it true that some vegetables are very high in nitrAtes? 

Dr. Tist:  Yes, yes sir it is.

AK:  Is it also true that nitrAte can just toss away an oxygen molecule and become her brother nitrite (5)?

Dr. Tist:  This is true.

AK: And nitRite runs around just changing its personality becoming nitrosamines (5)?

Dr. Tist: Yes at times.

AK: And further my fine Dr. Tist, what does nitrosamines cause.

Dr. Tist: (clearing throat) um c-c-c-cancer (3)

A collective gasp rules the court house.

Judge: Order!!! Order!!!, I have a gavel and I’m not afraid to use it.

AK: Dr. Tist, do you see anyone in the court room today that are responsible for up to 80% of dietary nitrAte intake (11)

Dr. Tist: (pointing at the defendant) I do, it’s the salad over there with the dark green leafy veggies and beets (9).
People nearest the defended scream, pulling their hair and run in all directions.

Judge: (pounding his gavel) one more outburst like that and I will clear the gallery.

AK:  Your honor the meat industry…cough..gag.. I mean the prosecutions rests it’s case.

Billybobjoe Barbaqu from the gallery yells, yeah…told ya meats is gud fer ya.

Judge: Mr. Just James would you like to cross examine.

JJ:  You bet I do. Dr. Cye N. Tist, did I pronounce that right.

Dr. Tist: yes

JJ:  Who do you work for?

Dr. Tist: uh, well, I suppose lots of people.  Let’s see there is big Ag for pesticides, beef, egg, pork, bacon….

JJ: I’ll stop you right there.  Are you saying that nitrAtes are bad for one’s health?

Dr. Tist: yes that is what I am saying.

JJ:  So then you must be aghast that the meat industry adds both nitrAte and nitRite to meat.

Dr. Tist, they have to, it prevents the growth of harmful bacteria, gives it a nice salty flavor, and makes it pretty. (10)

JJ: Is it not true that a high consumption of processed meat may increase the risk of digestive track cancer. (1)  And that studies show a correlation between meat consumption and colorectal cancer Risk (4)

Dr. Tist. (whispers) uh well yes

JJ: Now, you have said that nitrAte and nitRite are responsible for the creation of       nitrosamines (5) is that not correct?

Dr. Tist (sits up tall) yes, why yes I did (now smiling) it’s formed by nitRites in stomach acid.

JJ: What if anything blocks the formation of nitrosamine in the stomach.

Dr. Tist (head hung low) uh. Vitamin C (8)

JJ: Vitamin C huh? And do you find vitamin C in meat

Dr. Tist (hanging over turning green) not enough. (12)

JJ: So then let me get this straight.  The prosecution contends that 80% of the nitrAte and nitRite consumption is through plants and plants have lots of vitamin C…. AND Vitamin C turns OFF the pathway from nitRite to nitrosamine????

AK: Objection your honor

Judge: On what grounds?

AK: He’s ruining my case.

Dr. Tist: Yes vitamin C stops the formation of nitrosamines.

JJ:  And is it true that fruits and vegetables with both nitrAtes and nitRites reduce the risk for some cancers and many other diseases? (13)  Further do they not function as antimicrobials in the digestive system and kill bacteria like salmonella? (14). Why don’t I just keep going so you can just agree with me all at once.  They turn into nitric oxide and help with lowering blood pressure. (14)  Reduce the risk of Cardio Vascular disease (15).  Nitric Oxide is a signaling molecule that travels through the artery walls and sends signals to the tiny muscle cells around the arteries, telling them to relax (16) .  Woah, they also increase performance in all areas to include the yang… huh? Huh?  And of course all of those other athletic performances. (17)

Dr. Tist: If you say so.

JJ:  And lastly Dr. Tist is it not true that nitrates and nitrites in vegetables even when cooked almost never convert into nitrosamine?

Dr. Tist:  It’s true. Oh it’s also found in beer. (18)

JJ:  Damnit.

1.      https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16550597/
2.      http://europepmc.org/article/med/10495488
3.      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4690057/
4.      https://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/10/5/439.short
5.      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6147587/#:~:text=Although%20nitrates%20are%20stable%2C%20dietary,therefore%20performing%20physiological%20NO%20functions.
6.      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2653540/pdf/1471-2407-9-15.pdf
7.      https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19363256/
8.      https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0027510788901947
9.      https://www.livestrong.com/article/541308-fruits-vegetables-that-are-high-in-nitrates/
10.  https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jsfa.2740261117
11.  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19439460/
12.  https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-nutrients-you-cant-get-from-animal-foods#section1
13.  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2157027/
14.  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10615207/
15.  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28566109/
16.  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21968645/
17.   https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21284982/

18.   https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/6831466/