Is bacon really THAT bad for you?
Considering bacon is actually just pork and not processed like its cousin the sausage or salami that’s one hoof pointing in the right direction.
Yes I know about “turkey” bacon – but that’s just imitation right? The REAL bacon is fatty, yummy, and comes from pork.
Aside from the high fat content the health concerns are with the way it is prepared and cured prior to market. The pork is flavoured in baths of salt, spices, and nitrates. From there is is hung in a smokehouse for more flavour and aroma.
Other recipes call for baths of sugar or honey and not all bacon is “smoked”.
This process is a “curing” process that was originally designed to help keep meat from spoiling back in the day. Nitrates were later added as a way to keep the fresh colouring as well as a bacteria deterrent.
The fat in bacon is actually a form of “good” fat. Because of its high content of oleic acid which is the same type of fatty acid that is found in olives. A smaller content of the “bad” fats are also present in the form of polyunsaturated fatty acids. These will be found in greater quantities in commercially fed animals and less prevalent in farm fed.
How Bacon is Good for You
The nutrients in bacon includes high protein and a cache of the B vitamins of 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and 12. It also contains Selenium, Phosphorus, Zinc, Potassium, and magnesium.
Other than the fat the other concern is the salt content which is very high.
Nitrates in Bacon:
Lots of people are sensitive to nitrates. Some are full out allergic so it deserves a close look. Interestingly enough vegetables are made up of naturally occurring nitrates so what could be bad about the chemical nitrates in the bacon?
One issue is the carcinogen compound that is formed from the nitrates when cooked on high heat. The crispier the bacon the higher the number of cancer causing carcinogens there are. Bacon needs to be thoroughly cooked to be healthy so there is a middle ground.
So you know bacon is high in fat, salt, and nitrates but also a source of healthy nutrients, protein, and vitamins. I guess bacon remains a “guilty pleasure” and won’t be showing up on anyones healthy menu any day soon.
I think I can handle a little guilt 🙂 What about you?