For years they told us we need to eat less bacon. Even to cut it out of our diet completely. And to most certainly always get rid of the grease. They said it causes heart disease and will kill us. Actually, eating bacon is good for us as studies have shown.
For years we have been warned that bacon it is high on sodium and nitrates, which are added during the curing process. Nitrates and nitrites, which have been linked to cancer, can be found in most processed meats like hot dogs, ham and sausages as well.
But when it comes to bacon, medical establishment and nutritionists alike warned us mainly about the saturated fat in bacon and the risk of heart disease. Yet, recent studies do not support any significant association between the two. As a matter of fact, the studies say that saturated fat is found to be protective.
Why bacon is good for you
Bacon actually comes with a lot of health benefits. But just like it is with red wine, to reap the health benefits it must be consumed in moderation. Unless you’re an alcoholic you wouldn’t drink wine in excess. Same with bacon. When eaten in proper serving sizes, bacon is good for you.
Of course, regular exercise should be combined with any diet. Have you tried plogging? It’s good for you and the environment.
Bacon, like any other meats, is highly nutritious. For instance, a portion of 3.5 ounces of cooked bacon contains roughly 1.3 ounces of animal protein as well as Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and B12. Furthermore it contains 89% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for selenium, and 53% of phosphorus and the minerals iron, magnesium, zinc and potassium.
Bacon also contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are the same nutrients found in fish. They aid in reducing cholesterol and improve overall health in the heart. This doesn’t mean you can stop eating fish. The omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid in pork is fairly low and does not replace fish.
Keep in mind, though, that the same nutrition is also in other pork meats that are less processed.
What about the bacon fat
According to a study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, a low fat diet showed the greatest drop in energy expenditure and increased insulin resistance, a precursor of diabetes, compared with a low carbohydrate and low glycaemic index diet.
This is of significance when you take a look at the United States. Here, obesity has sky-rocketed despite the calorie consumption from fat falling from 40% to 30% over the past 30 years. “One reason is that the food industry compensated by replacing saturated fat with added sugar.” Dr Malhotra explains. He is an Interventional Cardiology Specialist Registrar at the Croydon University Hospital in London.
Dr Malhotra speaks out against the routine prescriptions of Statins, which are a class of lipid lowering drugs to help lower cholesterol levels in the blood. He said: “A diet high in saturated fats could be three times more effective at lowering cholesterol.”
How does bacon fat help lower cholesterol
Bacon does not have any trans fats. Trans fat is a type of unsaturated fat that only exists in small amounts in nature. This harmful form of fat is widely produced by industries from vegetable fats for preservation and in use of margarine and frying fast food.
The fats in bacon are about 50% monounsaturated with a large part of those being oleic acid. Which is the same fatty acid for which olive oil is being promoted for a healthy heart. 40% of the bacon fat is saturated fat, and 10% polyunsaturated.
Mono and polyunsaturated fats help lower the level of LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise the HDL (good) cholesterol level in your blood.
What about the saturated fat in bacon
A moderate amount of saturated fats in the daily diet is essential for health and longevity. Evidence shows that saturated fats prevent heart disease, osteoporosis and possibly even cancer.
Saturated fats are in all meats, some tropical oils, and breast milk. They are built in the cell membranes and protect and cushion them.
Saturated fats are needed to absorb fat-soluble vitamins. They are a fundamental building block of the brain cells and thus needed for normal brain and nervous system development in children.
It has also been shown that regular intake of saturated fats reduced the risk of developing dementia by 36%.
Great uses for bacon fat
Because bacon grease has lots of great uses, you shouldn’t throw it out.
- Bacon grease contains both rendered fat and proteins from the meat. It also acts like a sponge and soaks up all the flavor, which makes it great for cooking some of your favorite dishes.
- You can make your own salad dressing.
- If you love the smell of bacon, you can make candle. Caution around babies is advised when using scented candles. Burning a bacon grease candle might reduce that risk.
- Use it to season your cast-iron skillets.
- Birds love some fat. Specially in the cold winter. Make some bird feeders.
- Bacon grease is also a good fire starter. Place some dryer sheets into an egg carton and add the grease on top.
- Make some dog treats. Your dogs will love you for eat.
To sum it all up: bacon is good for you.
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