Can I eat Bacon and be healthy?
Maria Augustyn - (Naturopath)
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Can I eat Bacon and be healthy?

I found this interesting article and would like to share it with you.
Please note the emphasis given to a balance diet, low in simple carbohydrates, rich in vegetables and wholesome unprocessed foods.
Healthy food should be delicious and interesting. Sometimes it may include a little bacon.
Enjoy the reading.
 
Having protein in your breakfast together with vegetables, may start you on a very energetic day.The TRUTH About Bacon
 
When people today think of bacon, they think of clogged arteries, love handles,and sin. They also think of Homer Simpson.

That’s right: eating bacon means that you’re destined for heart disease, a fatbelly, and a lifetime in Satan’s dungeon-Doh!
 
But, thinking this way is aterrible misconception. In truth, bacon is a very good addition to your diet,and should be something enjoyed more often than you endulge in pancakes andsyrup or crepes with brown sugar.

Pancakes and syrup may look good to some people, but it is not good for you atall…

Bacon is not an unhealthy food when chosen correctly. By reading this article,you’re going to learn why and how to properly add bacon to your diet, andyou’re going to start doing it now.
 
What IsBacon?
 
Bacon is a cured meat (a naturalway to prevent the meat from spoiling by way of salt, and often nitrites) thattraditionally comes from a pig. It consists of both the meat of the pig, plusthe fat (known as lard).
 
Bacon usually comes from eitherthe belly of the pig, the back, or the sides. The amount of fat (lard) in bacondepends on how fat the pig is, with the belly usually being fattier than theback, especially in America.

Today, you can also find bacon made from turkey. But if you actually spent timereading the label of turkey bacon, you’d see it contains a laundry list ofingredients, many of which are not good for you such as hydrolyzed corn gluten,soy protein, wheat gluten, disodium inosinate, silicon dioxide and nitrites.
 
EuropeansHave It Right
 
All over Germany, pork reignssupreme. From bacon to sausage to lard, no parts of the pig are left unused.And, if you take a good look at traditional Germans, you will notice that theyare not as overweight as Americans, nor suffer the same incidences of chronicdisease.

Unlike modern-day Americans, Europeans use lard for most of their baking andcooking. Previously in the US, we also used to incorporate a lot of lard intoour daily diets, but with the notion (from our government) that pig fat is too“saturated” and unhealthy, we shifted to the use of hydrogenated plant oils(aka., vegetable shortening ) which actually made us sicker, fatter, and morediseased.
 
Why Baconis Better
 
To understand why bacon, and thefat it's rich in (lard), is a healthy choice for us to use in our diets alongwith other beneficial fats and proteins, let’s look at the nutritional scienceof this food.
 
If we take 1 tablespoon of purelard, we see that is consists of an even balance of saturated andmonounsaturated fatty acids, with some polyunsaturates and cholesterol (allanimal fats contain cholesterol), but no trans fats. Specifically, itcontains*:
 
• 5.9 grams of saturated fattyacids
• 6.4 grams monounsaturated fatty acids
• 2 grams polyunsaturated fatty acids (mostly omega-6)
• 14 mg cholesterol
*analysis from Mass Spectrometry at University of Alberta, 2003

If you compare lard to vegetable shortening, you get**:
 
• 3.8 grams saturated fatty acids
• 6.7 grams monounsaturated fatty acids
• 3.9 grams polyunsaturated fatty acids (mostly omega-6)
• 2 grams trans fatty acids (man-made)
• 0 mg cholesterol
**analysis from ESHA Food Processor

What’s most frightening is the trans fats found in this man-made, fake lardsubstitute – trans fats have now been linked directly to heart diseasemorbidity and mortality, and there is a strong move to rid our shelves of thisdangerous fat as soon as possible.
 
SaturatedFat is Not Bad
 
Some people still think saturatedfats are evil, and as a result have banned bacon from their homes. However,fatty acid experts today emphasize that saturated fat from natural sources likemeats, dairy, and tropical oils (coconut, palm) are not detrimental for ourhealth, but instead much better than the polyunsaturated and hydrogenatedsubstitutes we’ve been recently using.

Sure, maybe it’s confusing to try and tell yourself that saturated fat isn’tbad like we once thought. However, it’s important that you realize that we werefed lies and deception that only made us fatter, sicker, and unhealthier. Weneed to change this way of thinking.
 
The bottom line is that saturatedfats, like that found in bacon, CAN and SHOULD fit into a healthy diet – a dietlow in sugar, processed carbohydrates, and synthetic chemicals, but high infresh low-pesticide vegetables, organic meats and fish, and nuts and seeds.

Essential Omega-6 and Omega-3 Balance
 
What about the omega-6 fats inbacon? Some people feel that bacon and other foods containing omega-6polyunsaturated fats should be minimized, and a focus placed on omega-3 fatssuch as fish, flax, and certain nuts - which is both true and untrue.
 
It is correct that we should tryto keep a fairly close balance between the omega-6 fats (found in most meatsand some nuts and seeds) and the omega-3 fats, but we can’t completelyeliminate omega-6s in favour of omega-3s.
 
Not only is it almost impossible,unless you eat completely fat-free meats and avoid all nuts and oils, but yourbody needs omega-6s because they are ESSENTIAL – meaning necessary for propermetabolic and physiologic function.
It’s more important to maintain a healthy ratio of omega-6 fats found in foodslike bacon, with omega-3 fats found in DHA-enriched eggs and omega-3 rich fish.
 
For example, a great breakfastcombination would be a few slices of bacon with omega-3 DHA eggs topped withorganic salsa and avocado. Delicious and nutritious!

The Science of Bacon Fat
 
In 2003, I conducted a researchstudy at the University of Alberta looking at the effects of a high bacon fatdiet compared to a high palm oil diet on the cholesterol synthesis andinflammation profiles of ten healthy men.
 
I cooked all the food for theseguys every day, so all they ate was what I gave them. They ate things like:
 
• (BLLTs) Bacon, Lettuce, Lardand Tomato sandwiches
• Hash Browns cooked in lard
• Bacon and Egg Omelets cooked in lard
 
(To say I smelled like bacon all thetime was a compliment…)
 
After 6 weeks on each diet, theirblood was analysed for cholesterol synthesis rates, cholesterol, andtriglyceride concentrations, and markers of inflammation.
 
What was found was that the highlard diet compared to the high palm oil diet produced significantly lower totalcholesterol, and total-cholesterol/HDL cholesterol levels, with slightly lowerLDL-cholesterol and inflammatory marker levels.
 
What this means is that fat fromlard may be less cholesterolemic and inflammatory than fat from palm oil. Thisdoes not mean that palm oil is a bad fat, but instead suggests that lard may bebetter when consumed often.
 
ChoosingHealthy Bacon
 
Now that you know that the fat inbacon is not bad for you, or harmful for your health, don’t immediately go outand purchase bacon and eat it everyday.
 
First, you need to look for baconthat is nitrite-free.

Nitrite (sodium nitrite) is a preservative used in bacon to not only preventspoilage, but also keep bacon a nice red colour.
 
However, nitrite is also a knowncarcinogen and is related to increased risk and incidences of cancer.
 
So, if you do decide to choosebacon to help you either stick to a lower carbohydrate diet, or just eatinstead of toast and jam, make sure you choose wisely – natural nitrite freebacon is the best.
 
With bacon, you don’t have toworry about the pig being full of artificial or natural hormones, because theseare not allowed to be used on pigs.
 
Eat aBetter Breakfast
 
A healthy breakfast can include colourful vegetables. Now you know that bacon is a goodbreakfast food, but it can also be used to enhance the taste of your favouritesalads for lunch, or as a side dish at dinner.

No matter what you choose to do with your diet, bacon or not, remember thatbacon is not bad for you, and will not ruin your health. Also, when eaten in thecontext of a low-sugar, vegetable-rich-unprocessed diet, it will not make yourbelly look like a pig’s.

Enjoy!
 
By Cassandra Forsythe-Pribanic, PhD, RD
 
 

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