I Heart Bacon

Myths & Facts about our Most Feared & Loved Food

I heart bacon!

There’s not much argument about the deliciousness of bacon.  Whether you like it crispy or chewy, with scrambled eggs, stacked on a BLT, or wrapped around sweet dates, bacon is mmm-mmmm-good. But is bacon healthy? In my kitchen, yes indeed.

Allow me to dispel the common misconceptions about one of the most loved and feared foods on earth, and then you can decide for yourself.

BACON MYTH #1Bacon is loaded with saturated fat and cholesterol so it will clog my arteries and kill me.

FACT:  If you’re a “show me the studies” kind of person – Diets high in saturated fat actually have been shown increase HDL, the “good” cholesterol and not affect LDL, the “bad” cholesterol (Journal of American College of Nutrition, 2004).  Cholesterol does not clog arteries, and is essential for many functions in the body, including hormone production and regulation, proper digestion, and immune health.  A fairly recent study actually shows that lowering cholesterol has no effect on plaque build-up in the arteries (American Journal of Cardiology, 2003).  The modern epidemic of heart disease, should not be blamed on bacon, butter, and cream, but on unhealthy vegetable fats such as margarine, canola, corn, and soy oils as well as the grocery aisles of other processed foods.

If you’re more of an experiential learner, start eating high quality bacon from pastured pigs regularly as part of a nutrient dense, junk free diet.  You’ll feel awesome and won’t die, I promise.  At least not from the bacon.

BACON MYTH #2:  Eating bacon will make me fat.

FACT:  Eating anything in excess will make you fat, but the reality is, when you eat nutrient dense foods rich in saturated fat, your body will become satiated faster and for a longer period of time than when you eat a low-fat, nutrient deficient meal like corn flakes with low fat milk or even a bowl of fruit and non fat yogurt.  It tends to be the carbs, sugar, and processed foods that make us fat because we can eat and eat and eat them and never feel satisfied for long, so we eat and eat some more.  Bacon can actually be an important part of a healthy weight loss plan.

BACON MYTH #3:  Pigs are filthy animals and so pork is an unhealthy food.

FACT: Pigs like to play in mud, but that doesn’t contaminate pork.  All conventionally raised meat should be avoided, but if you buy organic, humanely-raised pork from pigs that have eaten a natural diet and enjoyed sunlight, you are actually eating an extremely nutrient dense food rich in vitamin D.  If you are Jewish or Muslim, you may choose not to eat pork because it is against your religion.  Some will use these principles to justify health reasons to avoid pork – God bless them and their choices, and pass the bacon.

BACON MYTH #4:  I avoid bacon because it’s all filled with unhealthy additives.

FACT:  Conventional bacon is filled with junk you don’t want to eat.  Oscar Mayer cures their “Naturally hardwood smoked” bacon with Water, Salt, Sugar, Sodium Phosphates, Sodium Ascorbate, Sodium Nitrite.  An organic brand such as Applegate farms uses: Water, Sea Salt, and less than 2% Organic Evaporated Cane Syrup, Celery Powder – that sounds good to me.  Even better, get to know your local farmer and ask her where her pigs live, what they eat, and how the bacon is cured – usually the more “homegrown” the less junk.

In my humble opinion, bacon is one of those foods that makes life worth living even before you believe it’s a health food too.  Try to get yours from a local farmer whose pigs eat natural diets and snort outside in the sunshine for maximum vitamin D.  It should be cured without nitrates and a bunch of chemicals.  Eat it with joy, eat it with abandon, but eat bacon.  It’s so good.

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Comments

  1. Karen says

    Where do they sell Applewood Farms bacon at? Does Trader Joes have any worthwhile bacon options? What is considered a “suitable diet” for pigs? I know for cows it’s simply grass but what for pigs if I was to ask a farmer?
    And what’s the best way to cook bacon? I’ve never actually cooked it myself as I became vegetarian at 15 and just started to eat meat again recently and I’m almost 40!

    • admin says

      Karen – We get Applewood at Wholefoods.

      As for “suitable diet” for pigs, pigs are foragers and omnivores. In nature they grub around for roots and dropped fruit. To my knowledge, a “pasture-raised” pig eats farm scraps. They should be no GMO of course and not heavy on the soy. I went to a Lindy and Grundy (a local butcher that specializes in local, pasture-raised meats) and they said the pigs were “hand-fed” (!) farm scraps from the next door organic farm (including wheat and black-eyed peas), apples, and milk.

      We cook bacon in a pan (just lay it in a single lay in a cold pan and turn on medium heat) until just brown and crispy but not too crispy-burnt. I also hear it’s great done in the oven, so I may try that soon too!

  2. says

    SO glad you posted this… now where is the SHARE button?
    Bacon used to make me sick, until I found a local farm. Best bacon in the world, I could eat it EVERYDAY!

  3. admin says

    Hi Savannah! Good question – I don’t know where the share button went, but I will get it back asap, thanks! Glad you like the post. Good bacon absolutely rocks. :)

  4. CMH says

    You have no sources to back up your assertions.

    FACT: Bacon is a fatty meat that *is* bad for you.
    “Based on convincing evidence, the panel recommends avoiding processed meats such as bacon, ham, sausage and lunchmeat. After carefully examining all of the evidence, the panel was not able to find a level at which consumption of processed meat could be reliably considered completely safe. Every 1.7 ounces of processed meat consumed per day increases risk of colorectal cancer by 21 percent.”
    Source: http://preventcancer.aicr.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=12898&news_iv_ctrl=0&abbr=pr_

    More, for your enjoyment: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/jan/13/bacon-linked-pancreatic-cancer-report
    Want some pancreatic cancer with that bacon?

    FACT: Excessive meat consumption, including bacon, is part of an obesity epidemic in this country.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19308071

    FACT: Pigs are as smart and sensitive as dogs. Would you eat your dog?
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/10/science/10angier.html
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/14/opinion/14niman.html

  5. Steph W. says

    This might a silly question, but how does one find an awesome farmer for quality pork/beef etc? what about a butcher? What questions do you ask?
    TIA! :)

    • says

      Hi Steph, thanks for the question – not silly at all! Just find a local farmer that raises their animals on pasture. You will see they will for the most part be grass fed instead of corn. I hope this helps!

  6. Trixie says

    Ugh!! You did it too!!! You said nitrite and nitrate in the same discussion about bacon. HELP!!! I’m trying very hard to figure out what all the hoopla is about nitrates (or is it nitrites) and I feel like I’m just chasing my tail! Please, help a sister out. What do you know about these two substances (or are they even two separate substances)? Where do they come from? What do they do to us? Everybody says they’re bad, but nobody ever says why. :(

  7. Lauren says

    Just a big head’s up on Myth #3…

    Pigs are wonderful, beautiful animals and incredibly intelligent. However, when it comes to eating them, just DON’T. Seriously.

    I’ve worked on a farm all my life, and it’s a good, organic farm in the northeast. Well-cared for animals, healthy feed, grass-fed, etc. But even with all of that, please understand that pigs’ bodies do NOT have lymphatic drainage systems like we do in our own bodies.

    Any toxins they eat, anything they absorb into their systems, any infections or illnesses or anything going on inside that pig, they cannot drain or “detox” from their bodies. Thus one of the reasons why they don’t sweat…there is no draining procedure like we have to get rid of bad stuff accumulating.

    So remember that no matter HOW healthy, organic, or well-taken care of that pig was that eventually became the bacon on your plate, you are essentially eating the toxins, bacteria, or anything else that was living in that animal’s body before slaughter. And if the pig was NOT well-taken care of or healthy (usually the case with most bacon)? Well, then good luck.

    Just a head’s up.

    • Justin says

      Thanks Lauren. For being an island of sanity in a land of denial. Yeah Bacon is good for us. And butter & ice cream, skydiving without a parachute, crack cocaine, heroin, whatever we want. Did you know 97% of all crackheads lost an average of 9 pounds last week, miracle diet I hear. So stupid.

    • Tasty Animal Lover says

      Oh Lauren, please back up your ridiculous statements with any credible scientific research. If pigs absorbed any toxins and could not “drain” them, they would not live long after their first few meals, that is if they could even be born at all.

  8. Brittany says

    Why are you on this site if you’re vegan? Obviously you don’t heart bacon and that’s fine, but we don’t all need to hear about it. Go post on your own blog.

    • Justin says

      Of we do that as well. I’m not the only one who came across this & opined the opposite. If preaching to the choir was all anyone did, I myself never would have learned the truth. Therefore, I feel an obligation when I come across misinformation that others may also find to, as the site says “speak your mind”. If all you can tell me is to go away – then it is fairly transparent – go on loving bacon all u wish. While it may be unethical – it is legal & your prerogative – just don’t try telling people it’s healthy for crying out loud. Of all the most absurd BS

  9. says

    ok , after 15 yrs of study i will give some of my findings i am a retired builder/ farmer.
    first ,one of the most nutritious meals on the planet is bacon and eggs. how can that be? easy, do the chemistry. i did mine you need to do the research.
    here is a little easy to understand breakdown.
    otto warburg was given the MOST prestigious prize on the planet for discovering the cause of cancer(and in my opinion ALL degenerative disease) in 1931 and guess what … ? no one listened . did you ? and it was the easiest thing to remember. one word . any guesses ? anerobism very simple(the truth usually is )
    to learn the chemistry of oxygen, sugar needs to be analyzed. bottom line is carbs which are sugar and simple sugar are killing us. healthy fats are being eliminated from our diets which are also killing us.
    all foods can be produced in better ways and worse(factory farm )ways but still the chemistry needs to be followed, this is the basic rule that will save you. do not allow excessive amounts of sugar to destroy you and do NOT listen to the health industries lies about low fat high carb diets. healthy fats are ESSENTIAL learn the truth about fat … coconut, beef, pig and butter are mostly saturated (the hydrogen locations are filled) this is natural and very healthy. mono is okay like olive for dressing but dont heat it .
    the other oils are mostly killers.
    this is opposite of what the lying media has told you. look at what the plague of related diseases is telling you THEY ARE WRONG they are selling their products, cereal ,grains fake oils sugar , anything packaged is usually a killer disguised as good. look inside your self and admit what you are doing is not working and do your research,the truth is not hard if you use your own mind and do not listen to hired salesmen. stick to the facts and the concepts NOT famous peoples opinions they have been paid to fool you.

Trackbacks

  1. […] On the other hand, good quality beef – from pastured-raised cows – is a nutrient-dense, health-promoting food containing no antibiotics or hormones. It’s a great source of saturated fat and cholesterol your body needs to function properly. By the way, the modern epidemic of heart disease should not be blamed on grass-fed beef, bacon, butter, and cream, but on unhealthy vegetable fats such as margarine, canola, corn, and soy oils as well as the groceries aisles of other processed foods. If you’re not convinced that saturated fat and cholesterol are good for you, read my posts on butter and bacon. […]

  2. […] On the other hand, good quality beef – from pastured-raised cows – is a nutrient-dense, health-promoting food containing no antibiotics or hormones. It’s a great source of saturated fat and cholesterol your body needs to function properly. By the way, the modern epidemic of heart disease should not be blamed on grass-fed beef, bacon, butter, and cream, but on unhealthy vegetable fats such as margarine, canola, corn, and soy oils as well as the groceries aisles of other processed foods. If you’re not convinced that saturated fat and cholesterol are good for you, read my posts on butter and bacon. […]

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