Many of the strikes against delicious bacon are myths and/or outdated science. The mere fact that it’s delicious also makes people assume it’s bad for us. Delicious AND healthy? Too good to be true!
Let’s take a look…
Too salty – Unless you have an issue with salt, why are you trying to minimize your sodium intake? Don’t get me wrong, I look at the labels on boxes, too. A box or can with tons of sodium is a sign that the stuff within might be a poor quality food. Non-salt sodium (like MSG, for instance) is used to enhance flavor without making things too salty on the tongue. Why do the need to enhance flavor? Because it’s a poor quality food, probably. Bacon is different. Salt is part of the curing and preserving process. Low sodium bacon isn’t bacon at all, and isn’t worth eating.
If you’re truly concerned with your salt intake, I urge you to read Chris Kresser’s series on salt myths.
Hundreds of studies have been conducted on salt intake, and a consistent pattern has never been established for sodium’s role in a variety of negative health outcomes.
– Chris Kresser
Nitrates/Nitrites – Do you know that nitrate and nitrite “free” bacon still contain nitrates and nitrites? In fact, many actually contain more of them. The difference is that the precursor to nitrates and nitrates (like celery seed) are added to the uncured bacon and allowed to become nitrates and nitrites on their own. As such, nitrates and nitrites aren’t listed on the ingredient labels, either. Trust me, they are there. En mass.
Ok, but does this mean you should avoid all bacon (and sausage, hot dogs, etc)? Well, if so, then you should also avoid leafy greens and many vegetables, as they contain far more of both than bacon does (Food sources of nitrates and nitrites).
Too fatty – Is it really? The average slice of bacon contains just 40 calories, 3g of protein, and 3g of fat. Compare this to a sausage link which is often 90 calories and almost all fat. Which is more satisfying, 4 slices of bacon or just two measly little sausage links?
Saturated fat -Even mainstream media is starting to forget the mantra against saturated fat, but it’s been ingrained in us since the 60′s and 70′s, and is hard to forget. It’s a bad habit to avoid this necessary fat. Yes, it’s necessary for our health, and avoiding it for 40 years has only made our society sicker and fatter, while heart disease has actually gotten worse, not better.
But aren’t there studies that show _______?
When investigators analyzed the relationship between saturated fat intake, serum cholesterol and heart attack risk, they were so disappointed that they never formally published the results.
– Stephan Guyenet, PhD, Does Dietary Saturated Fat Increase Blood Cholesterol?
Cholesterol – We’ve recently rescued to poor egg yolk from the drains of our kitchen sinks, and now it’s time to embrace the dietary cholesterol in meat and dairy as benign, not the evil that it was once was made out to be. Even if you aren’t sure that blood levels of cholesterol aren’t important factors, please know that dietary cholesterol has little to no effect on what happens to your blood cholesterol readings (again, read the link under “Saturated fat” for more info on the whole “lipid hypothesis” myth).
It’s pork – Yes, this is a barrier if you have an allergy, aversion, or religious conviction against pork, but why is it that people use “it’s pork” as if it’s a legitimate reason unto itself? No one says “but steak is beef” and leaves it at that, yet when I suggest that clients eat bacon… Strangely, they never say that about pork chops or ham. It’s a mental thing because bacon has been vilified all these years. …and is so delicious.
In conclusion – It’s okay to have bacon. And might I suggest 10 of the best ways to have it !
1. Bacon Guacamole Mash 2 avocados with 1/2 cup each chopped tomato and cilantro, 1/4 cup each chopped onion and crumbled cooked bacon, 1/2 minced jalapeño, some lime juice and salt.
2. Cheesy Bacon Popcorn Drizzle 4 cups hot popcorn with 1 tablespoon bacon drippings. Toss with 3 tablespoons crumbled cooked bacon and 1/4 cup each grated parmesan and cheddar.
3. Warm Bacon Slaw Cook 6 slices thick-cut bacon in 1 tablespoon olive oil; drain and crumble. Add 1/2 sliced red onion, 1/4 cup each cider vinegar and water, 2 tablespoons brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds to the drippings. Toss with 6 cups shredded cabbage and the bacon.
4. Bacon Kraut Cook 8 ounces diced Canadian bacon and 1 chopped onion in olive oil. Add 3/4 cup each beer and water, and 1 pound rinsed drained sauerkraut. Simmer 20 minutes.
5. Bacon Reuben Spread Russian dressing on rye toast. Top with Bacon Kraut (No. 4) and Swiss cheese. Broil until melted.
6. Bacon-Apple Sandwiches Spread a split baguette with honey mustard. Fill with cooked bacon, sliced brie and apple, and lettuce; add salt and pepper. Slice.
7. Cobb Club Spread 3 slices toast with soft blue cheese and mayonnaise. Layer with grilled chicken, cooked bacon, avocado, tomato, romaine and hard-boiled egg to make a double-decker sandwich.
8. Bacon Butter Cook 2 slices bacon in a skillet; drain and chop. Blend 1 stick softened butter with the drippings and 2 tablespoons maple syrup. Stir in the chopped bacon.
9. PB&B Sandwich peanut butter, banana and cooked bacon with white bread. Cook in a buttered skillet.
10. Croque Monsieur Spread dijon mustard on sliced challah; sandwich with Canadian bacon and shredded gruyère. Whisk 1 egg with a bit of milk and nutmeg; dip the sandwiches in the egg mixture and fry in butter.