There is no doubt about it: bacon is awesome. You can add it to pretty much anything and make a tasty meal of it. Eggs and bacon, bacon on your burger, bacon wrapped steak, heck, even bacon ice cream is a thing nowadays.
It is fairly easy to see why we are attracted to this popular meat: it’s composed of the perfect ratio of savory, salty, and fatty flavors, making it irresistibly delicious to most people.
But, perhaps unsurprisingly, bacon has a dark side as well (and I am not just talking about that one time you made your bacon a little too crispy). Indeed, in this article I’m going to go over a bunch of the reasons why you might want to keep the stuff off your plate. Will I be able to convince you to remove bacon from your diet completely? Probably not. But at least you’ll be aware of the risks!
What’s so bad about bacon? Read on…
1. It’s basically just fat, and not the good kind.
Much of bacon’s delicious flavor comes from its high fat content (in fact, 68% of your average piece of bacon is made up of the stuff). Unfortunately, this fat is of the saturated variety, which is bad news. Why? Well, saturated fats tend to spike your cholesterol levels, which in turn makes you more prone to experiencing a life threatening stroke or heat attack.
The American Heart Association says that about 7% of your daily calories should come from saturated fats. In other words, there is room for a bit of bacon in your diet each day. Just don’t go too crazy.
2. It might be increasing your cancer risk .
While it seems like everything these days leads to one cancer or another, the evidence is more substantial when it comes to bacon. Indeed, the American Institute for Cancer Research states that no processed meats are safe to eat, and of course, bacon is a processed meat.
This mainly has to do with the way in which processed meats are preserved. And if you don’t want to take the American Institute for Cancer Research’s word for it, there’s this study done by the University of Zurich, which discovered a link between certain kinds of cancers and the consumption of processed meat.
3. It might give you food poisoning.
Ok, so I know this one might seem a bit “general,” but stay with me. If you happen to eat bacon that came from “factory-farmed pigs,” then you are putting yourself at risk. According to nutritionists like Sara Bilbe, pigs are sensitive to the stressful conditions inherent to factory farms, leading to more instances of illness among their population.
This is not just speculation either. In one Canadian factory farm, MRSA was found to be infecting certain pigs. And as you may know, MRSA is a bacterial strain that is highly resistant to antibiotics.
I’m not saying that eating bacon will automatically lead to infection, but you are putting yourself at a slightly higher risk.
4. It’s deceptive.
And by that, I mean that it’s easy to eat an incredible amount of bacon without really feeling like you’ve eaten much of anything at all. In truth, the recommended daily intake of bacon is about one ounce (about 140 calories worth). The good news is that it’s enough to make a decent meal out of something. For example, one ounce will give you a decent amount of bacon for breakfast, or be the perfect finishing touch to a BLT sandwich.
Of course, you could have even more bacon if you choose a leaner variety, like “Oscar Mayer’s Center Cut Smokehouse Thick Sliced,” or turkey bacon.
5. It may lead you to other unhealthy life choices.
This one’s a bit different. One study in the journal BMC found that those who ate more processed meats were more likely to die as a result of cancer or heart disease, which we’ve already gone over here. The difference is that these researchers argued that this was not only because of their dietary choices, but because those who ate lots of processed meats were more prone to making other poor decisions, such as excess drinking and smoking.
Who would have thought that bacon could be a gateway drug of sorts? Remember folks, moderation is key…
While you might be thinking that it’s time to completely remove bacon from your diet (and I wouldn’t blame you), I suppose it’s my responsibility to contextualize all of this for you.
Sure, bacon is unhealthy. But there’s stuff out there that’s even worse for you, like, for instance, breakfast sausage links! So my recommendation to you would be to do your own homework. You won’t be able to dodge all of the unhealthy food-related bullets flying around everywhere, but you can limit the amount of times you get hit by taking the necessary precautions.
Any heavy bacon eaters out there now considering to limit their intake a bit? Or is bacon just too good to give up? Comment below!
Featured photo credit: Bacon/Cyclonebill via flic.kr