What Bacon Really Does To Your Body

Bacon is beloved by many for its smoky, salty, umami flavor. Who doesn’t love a delicious BLT sandwich or a hearty breakfast of eggs and bacon? However, bacon has acquired a bad reputation over the years for being an unhealthy food due to its high fat and sodium content. But is bacon really that bad for you or is it okay to enjoy in moderation? Let’s take a closer look at what bacon actually does to your body.

The Problem with Processed Meats

First, it’s important to understand that bacon is a processed meat It’s not a fresh cut like a steak or burger, but has been preserved by curing, smoking, salting or adding preservatives There are three main chemicals found in processed meats that have been linked to negative health effects

  • Haem – a red pigment naturally found in red meats
  • Nitrites/nitrates – preservatives used to preserve color and extend shelf life
  • Heterocyclic amines – compounds produced when meat is cooked at high temps

These substances may damage cells in the colon over time, eventually leading to cancer In fact, the World Health Organization has classified processed meats including bacon as a Group 1 carcinogen, meaning it’s a proven cause of cancer.

Studies have linked eating processed meats to higher risk of:

  • Colon cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Breast cancer (in women)

The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends avoiding processed meats altogether due to these potential cancer risks

Bacon is High in Saturated Fat

In addition to being processed, bacon contains significant amounts of saturated fat. The American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fat intake to no more than 5-6% of total calories.

Just three slices of bacon contain nearly 5 grams of saturated fat, which is over a third of the daily recommended limit for most people. Diets high in saturated fat have been linked to increased “bad” LDL cholesterol levels and higher risk of heart disease.

The High Salt Content

Bacon is also very high in sodium, with just 2-3 slices providing nearly half of the recommended daily limit. Over 90% of Americans eat more salt than advised.

High sodium intake is associated with high blood pressure, which raises risks of heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular problems. Reducing sodium can help lower blood pressure, especially for those with hypertension.

Sodium from cured and smoked meats may also increase stomach cancer risk by damaging the stomach lining. The added salt can worsen H. pylori infections, which are known to cause lesions that may lead to cancer.

Cancer-Causing Chemicals

In addition to nitrates/nitrites used in processing, bacon contains other potentially harmful chemicals like PAHs that are formed when the meat is cured and smoked at high temperatures.

Preservatives and chemicals in processed meats are believed to contribute to oxidative stress and inflammation in the body, raising risks of cancer as well as conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

It’s Easy to Overeat

Given its high fat and sodium content, it’s easy to overdo it on bacon. Just a few slices can provide nearly a whole day’s worth of sodium and saturated fat.

People often eat more bacon than advisable because of the perception that it tastes good and is a filling protein. However, substituting turkey bacon isn’t necessarily healthier given the high sodium and it being a processed meat.

The Bottom Line

So what’s the final verdict on bacon? Is it really that bad for you?

The general consensus is that bacon and other processed meats should be eaten in moderation as part of an overall healthy diet. Having a few slices of bacon here and there likely poses minimal risk to health. However, regular and high consumption may increase risks of chronic illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Here are some tips for enjoying bacon responsibly:

  • Limit bacon to no more than 2-3 times per week
  • Stick to just 1-2 slices per serving
  • Opt for lower-sodium versions when possible
  • Serve bacon with vegetables to balance nutrition
  • Avoid charring or burning when cooking
  • Choose leaner pork products like Canadian bacon

While bacon has some downsides, it can still be incorporated into a balanced diet sparingly. Be mindful of portion sizes and preparation methods to reduce any associated health risks. Moderation and variety are key when it comes to all less healthy foods, including bacon.

So go ahead and enjoy that occasional BLT or bacon cheeseburger guilt-free! Just be sure to pair it with healthier sides and not overindulge too often. Your body (and heart) will thank you.

What If You Eat BACON Every Day For 30 Days?


What happens if you eat bacon every day?

A newer report American Journal of Clinical NutritionEating 150 grams or more of processed meat (about five slices of bacon) a week was found to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease by almost 46% compared to eating no processed meat at all.

What does bacon do to your digestive system?

High-fat foods Deep-fried foods contain a lot of fat, but so do a lot of other foods that aren’t fried. Heavy cream, butter, and fatty meats, such as bacon, can all be very hard to digest, which can result in cramps, bowel issues, and other digestive issues.

Is bacon the worst meat for you?

“About 68% of the calories from bacon come from fat—and about half of those are from saturated fat—so it’s definitely not the healthiest meat you can choose.”

Is bacon good or bad protein?

Bacon is a good source of protein and contains nine of the essential amino acids, making it a complete source of protein. Low in carbohydrates, a slice of bacon has three grams of protein and zero carbohydrates.

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