Why Does Bacon Make Me Sick? Exploring the Various Health Dangers of Everyone’s Favorite Pork Product

Oh bacon, is there any food more beloved? The crispy, salty, umami slices of pork belly seem like the perfect addition to everything from breakfasts to burgers. But while delicious, bacon does come with some health cautions. If you’ve ever felt queasy after indulging in this fatty food, you’re not alone Let’s explore the various ways bacon can make people sick

Raw Bacon Risks

One of the biggest dangers with bacon is consuming it raw or undercooked. Raw pork can harbor harmful bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses:

  • Salmonella – Causes diarrhea, fever, cramps, and vomiting.

  • E. coli – Leads to severe stomach cramps, bloody diarrhea vomiting and fever.

  • Listeria – Triggers headache, confusion, loss of balance, fever, and muscle aches.

Cooking bacon to 145°F kills any bacteria present. But eat it raw and you’re putting yourself at high risk of food poisoning. The symptoms are extremely unpleasant, last for days, and can even require hospitalization.

Undercooked bacon may look lightly pink and seem okay, but it’s safer to cook it until crispy Bacon should sizzle, not pop, in the pan So be patient and cook it thoroughly.

Nitrates and Nitrites

While nitrates and nitrites help preserve bacon, they can form cancer-causing nitrosamines when exposed to high heat. Research links eating processed meats with higher colorectal cancer risk.

Frying bacon creates byproducts called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons shown to cause stomach, colorectal and pancreatic cancers in animal studies.

While occasional bacon likely poses little risk, regularly eating it may increase your chances of certain cancers over time.

High Sodium Content

Two slices of pan-fried bacon contain over 300mg sodium – about 13% of the recommended daily value. While fine in moderation, eating bacon daily adds a lot of sodium which can raise blood pressure.

The American Heart Association recommends limiting sodium to 1,500mg per day, so bacon should be an occasional treat.

Fats and Cholesterol

Two slices of bacon deliver about 8 grams of fat, over half of which is saturated. This may worsen heart disease risk factors like high LDL cholesterol.

While the fat gives bacon its appealing flavor, eating too much can clog arteries. Limit bacon to 2-3 times per week as recommended by health organizations.

Acidity and GERD

Bacon’s pH ranges from 5.3 to 6.4, giving it an acidic effect in our bodies. Frequent consumption promotes inflammation and stomach acid production.

For those with reflux, bacon’s high fat content also slows digestion, causing food to sit in the stomach longer and trigger acid reflux symptoms.

Contains Purines

Purines break down into uric acid, which in excess forms painful urate crystals in joints. This causes gout flares.

Bacon contains moderate purine levels. While it likely won’t trigger gout on its own, it can contribute to high purine intake for susceptible individuals.

Potential Parasites

Undercooked bacon may contain parasites like pork tapeworm and trichinella. When infected pork is eaten, these parasites can migrate from the intestines and infect other tissues.

Symptoms of trichinosis include diarrhea, abdominal pain, fatigue, fever, and muscle pain. Good pork safety standards make infection unlikely, but it’s still another reason to cook bacon thoroughly.

What to Do if Bacon Makes You Sick

If you develop symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea or abdominal pain after eating bacon, seek medical care. Bring a sample of the suspect bacon to help identify bacteria or toxins.

Drink fluids to prevent dehydration. Avoid solid foods during illness. Rest and take over-the-counter medications as recommended by your doctor.

Report suspected food poisoning to the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline so outbreaks can be tracked.

Tips to Enjoy Bacon Safely

Bacon can be part of a healthy diet in moderation. Follow these tips to minimize risks:

  • Cook bacon until it’s crispy to kill bacteria.
  • Choose lower-sodium varieties.
  • Opt for uncured bacon with no added nitrites.
  • Eat no more than 2-3 servings per week.
  • Pair with vegetables vs carbs to reduce fat intake.
  • Skip undercooked bacon in dishes like soups or salads.
  • Monitor symptoms if you have reflux or gout.

Bacon can absolutely make some people feel sick, especially if eaten raw, spoiled or in excess. Being mindful of risks and moderating intake allows you to balance safety with enjoying this delicious food.

What’s So Bad about BACON? (Truth about Bacon Safety) 2024

What happens if you eat bacon?

“The saturated and trans fats in bacon can also lead to arterial plaque buildup, further narrowing blood vessels and potentially worsening hypertension,” adds Best. Your risk for cancer may increase. Bacon is a type of processed meat, so your risk for cancer may increase.

Can one eat bacon with diverticulosis?

You can eat bacon with diverticulosis, but it is not the most recommended. In a person with diverticulosis, it is recommended to consume foods with soluble fiber such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes.

Is fried bacon bad for You?

Fried bacon may be high in nitrosamines, which are carcinogenic. However, food producers have managed to reduce the nitrosamine content significantly by adding vitamin C. When it comes to cooking meat, it is important to find balance. Overcooking is unhealthy, but undercooking can also be a concern.

Does eating bacon raise blood pressure?

Eating a lot of bacon and other salty foods raises blood pressure in salt-sensitive people. It may also increase the risk of stomach cancer. Processed meat also contains additives like nitrates and nitrites.

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