Pork, salt, fat, and occasionally additional sugar give Bacon its distinct flavor. Because of its unmatched taste, meat is a popular choice and favorite. Bacon is made from the belly of a pig and is salt-cured and frequently smoked before reaching supermarket shelves. When cooked, much of the fat melts away and may be drained by placing cooked Bacon on a dish with a few paper towels heaped on top. Nitrates and nitrites extend the shelf life and improve the product’s appearance. Bacon is prepared differently in the United Kingdom and Canada than in the United States. Their Bacon comes from the back of the pig, giving it a ham-like flavor. Protein, fat, and salt are all high in both forms.
Bacon Nutrition Facts
What Is Bacon?
Bacon is a salt-cured pig chop customarily made from the belly or more minor fatty sections of the back. It can be served as a side dish (especially for breakfast), as the main ingredient (for example, in the BLT sandwich), or as a flavoring or accent (as in bacon bits in a salad).
Bacon is also used for barding and larding roasts, particularly game meats such as venison and pheasant, and maybe spread atop the meat to insulate or flavor roast joints. The name comes from the Proto-Germanic word “back meat.” Meat from other animals, such as beef, lamb, chicken, goat, or turkey, might be sliced, cured, or otherwise prepared to resemble Bacon and referred to as “turkey bacon,” for example. Because both religions forbid pork consumption, this practice is widespread in locations with considerable Jewish and Muslim populations. There is vegetarian Bacon available, such as “soy bacon.”
How Is Bacon Made?
There are various sorts of Bacon, and the end product can change from one maker to the next. Bacon is made from pork; however, related items such as turkey bacon are available. Bacon is often cured, which involves soaking the meat in a solution of salt, nitrates, and occasionally sugar.
After that, the Bacon is usually smoked. Curing and smoking are procedures for preserving meat, but they also contribute to the distinctive flavor of Bacon and aid in preserving its red color. The addition of salt and nitrates to the meat creates an unfavorable environment for germs to thrive, and Bacon has a substantially longer shelf life than fresh pork as a result. Bacon is a slice of processed meat, but the quantity of processing and the substances utilized differ from one manufacturer to the next.
Health Benefits Of Bacon
While Bacon should be consumed in moderation due to its high fat, cholesterol, and sodium content, eating Bacon has some health benefits. People with specific medical issues may benefit from these health benefits.
Although you may have been advised to avoid salt, some people do not get enough salt in their diets. Athletes, for example, may sweat so much salt that an electrolyte imbalance develops. People with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) may benefit from a high-sodium diet to help them manage their symptoms. High-sodium items like Bacon can help people receive adequate salt in their diet in certain situations, especially if they don’t enjoy the flavor of table salt.
Although this isn’t accurate, many people believe that all fat is bad. While some types of fat are better for you than others, you still need fat in your diet. Fats are significantly more vital for young children’s brain development, as dietary fat aids in this process. It’s therefore acceptable to allow your toddler to eat a strip or two of Bacon now and then.
Bacon and other fried foods are frequently used as hangover cures at home. While Bacon’s high salt and potassium content may assist in restoring electrolytes lost due to dehydration and alleviate specific hangover symptoms, there is no scientific proof that Bacon may genuinely treat or cure a hangover.
Side Effects Of Bacon
Here are some potential downwards of Bacon:
Bacon Contains A Lot Of Fat
Bacon fats are around 50% monounsaturated, with oleic acid accounting for a substantial portion of that. This is the same fatty acid found in olive oil, widely regarded as “heart-healthy.” Then there’s saturated fat, which accounts for around 40% of the total, along with a fair bit of cholesterol.
The remaining fat in Bacon is 40% saturated fat and 10% polyunsaturated fat, and a fair quantity of cholesterol. Dietary cholesterol was a source of concern in the past, but scientists now believe it has only minor effects on blood cholesterol levels. The health effects of saturated fat, on the other hand, are hotly debated. Many health experts believe that a high saturated fat diet is a crucial cause of heart disease.
Although studies have found no consistent correlations between saturated fat intake and heart disease, high saturated fat intake may increase specific risk factors for heart disease.
Finally, the health effects of saturated fat may vary depending on the type of saturated fat consumed, the dietary environment, and the individuals’ overall lifestyle. Bacon’s high-fat level shouldn’t be a concern, especially as the standard serving size is tiny.
Bacon Is High In Salt
Bacon has a high salt content because salt is needed in the curing process. Eating salty foods has been linked to an increased risk of stomach cancer. In persons with salt sensitivity, too much salt can elevate blood pressure. Although high blood pressure is hazardous in the long run, studies have found no consistent link between salt consumption and heart disease death. However, if you have high blood pressure and feel sensitive to salt, you should limit your salt intake, including Bacon.
Nitrites And Nitrosamines
Additives like nitrates and nitrites are also included in processed meat. The problem with these additives is that they produce nitrosamines, recognized carcinogens when cooked at high temperatures. Antioxidants like vitamin C and erythorbic acid, on the other hand, are now commonly used in the curing process, and these effectively lower the nitrosamine concentration of Bacon. Although Bacon now contains far less nitrosamine than in the past, scientists are concerned that a high diet could increase cancer risk. It also contains several other potentially hazardous substances described in the following chapter.
Other Potentially Harmful Compounds
It’s crucial to strike a balance when it comes to preparing meat. Overcooking is wrong, but undercooking can be dangerous as well. If you overcook the meat, it will produce dangerous substances such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heterocyclic amines, both of which are linked to cancer. On the other hand, some meats may include bacteria, viruses, and parasites. As a result, you must cook meat thoroughly but not excessively.
Concerns About Processed Meat
Nutritionists have been worried about the health impacts of Bacon and other processed meats for decades. In numerous observational studies, a high diet of processed meat has been linked to cancer and heart disease. Processed meat, in particular, has been linked to malignancies of the colon, breast, liver, and lungs, among others.
Processed meat has also been linked to heart disease, and processed meat was strongly related to heart disease and diabetes in a significant study of prospective trials. People who consume a lot of processed meat, on the other hand, are more likely to live an unhealthy lifestyle in general, and they are more prone to smoke and engage in less physical activity. Regardless, these findings should not be overlooked because the correlations are significant and consistent.
Daily Bacon Consumption Leads To An Early Death
“Eating processed meats like bacon was linked to an increased risk of early death in a 2015 study,” says Jay Cowin, NNCP, RNT, RNC, CHN, CSNA at SYSTEM. “A 33 percent increased risk of early death and an 8% increased risk of acquiring heart disease or diabetes was found in the study for every additional 50 grams of processed beef consumed each day.” “The study didn’t state how many pieces of bacon would equal 50 grams, but given on what we know about portion sizes, and it’s safe to infer it’s approximately two strips,” Cowin adds. “Because it’s impossible to know where all the saturated fat, salt, protein, and nitrates in bacon originate from,” she says, “some people’s estimates may include those elements as well.”
Daily Bacon Leads To Heart Disease
Saturated fats are found in Bacon, according to Dr. Boyer. “Saturated fats have been linked to multiple heart-related disorders, including LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol. Bacon at breakfast may cause an excess of ‘bad’ cholesterol to build up in your blood vessels, obstructing them, putting you at risk for heart-related disorders such as coronary artery disease, heart attack, and congestive heart failure.” Dr. Boyer further points out that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “heart-related disease is the leading cause of mortality in the United States.”
How To Include Bacon In A Healthy Diet?
With the aid of one essential moderation, Bacon may be a part of any balanced diet:
- Keep portion sizes in check.
- Avoid consuming Bacon more than a few times per week.
- Use it as a condiment to top your meal, rather than the main course.
- Crumble Bacon on a big green salad, or make a healthy, low-fat chicken wrap with grilled veggies and a slice of Bacon for some extra-salty, rich flavor.
Healthiest Way To Cook Bacon
The healthiest way to make Bacon is to pan-fry it until crispy so that most of the fat melts off it. Be careful not to burn the Bacon, increasing your carcinogen consumption. The best way to reduce the fat and calories in a bacon slice is to drain it well. After you cook your Bacon, place it on some paper towels to drain, and mop up any extra melted fat as you see fit.
Although there is no genuinely perfect substitute for Bacon, there are many ‘bacon-like’ options that can mimic the flavor and texture of our beloved cured meat. You can use store-bought vegan bacon or create your own out of marinated tempeh, tofu, or seitan if you’ve transitioned to a plant-based diet and crave the flavor of Bacon. Because these options are high in protein but low in fat, we recommend mixing them with vegan fat sources like avocado to achieve that post-bacon fullness.
In numerous studies, Bacon and other processed-meat products have been linked to cancer and heart disease. They’re all observational studies, which means they can’t show causation. Despite this, their outcomes have been relatively stable.
You must make your own decision and examine the situation objectively. If you believe that incorporating Bacon into your life is worth the risk, follow a basic rule that applies to most processed foods: moderation.