• Thu, Nov 15 2007

Not Only Is Bacon Healthy, It Saves Lives. I Knew It.

potted meat

Perfect when paired with a fine aged can of Coke.

I suffered through an entire paragraph about lettuce just to unearth this miraculous news for you: bacon is healthy. And so is sausage. And hot dogs. No word yet on spam, but authorities agree that cured, processed meat rocks our collective (soggy) nutritional socks!

Oh how I love science by press release. As if I needed a reason to justify my pack-a-day bacon habit (is she kidding, is she serious, the world may never know), a new study finds that the nitrates found in cured, processed meat food are not only good for you, but exert a protective effect on damaged heart tissues following a heart attack. Technically, it’s actually nitrites that offer this cardiovascular benefit, but nitrites and nitrates are kissing cousins, chemically speaking. And technically, greens offer far more nitrite and nitrate than does bacon. But the obvious point here is that bacon has the goods. The researchers say that this discovery is ironic, and I’ve really loved that word ever since Winona Ryder couldn’t define it in Reality Bites.

This whole time, we (and I’m speaking for the medical community here) thought nitrites – well, nitrates – were toxic. Ultimately, they may prove to be carcinogenic, but at least they are good for your heart. Cancer, cardiovascular concerns: you have to make a choice. I suggest emailing this to your doctor. Although, this is likely to be redundant because I’m fairly certain he already subscribes to Healthbolt for all his health and wellness information.

Want to get more lettuce in your diet? Your steadfast devotion to avoiding green things is admirable, but it’s time to show the rabbits who’s in charge. Here are six tasty ways to eat greens. Ridiculously cute bunny included at no extra charge.

- Marilyn Flickr Photo (CC)

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  • Brian

    EXCELLENT!! I knew that bacon was good for me as well as good tasting … pack a day huh? well I’m not quite there, but maybe I’ll get there after this new enlightened view of things :)

  • http://www.carolyngrantham.com Carolyn

    So if bacon is good for you, and (as we all know) chocolate is good for you, that means Vosges Bacon Chocolate bar is the best thing you can possibly eat! Huzzah!

  • Sara

    Carolyn,

    Hurrah! Current research confirms your statement. You are a woman ahead of your time. ;)

  • catty

    I’ll take colon cancer with a side of a healthy heart…. ;)

    The sad thing is, people will take these news as a reason to justify their crap diets. You like a sprinkle of bacon with your spinach? you’re doin’ good. You like your bacon with your scottish egg? Not so much.

  • http://half-fast.blogspot.com Vanilla

    Best. News. Ever. Bring on the Bacon!

  • http://www.carolyngrantham.com Carolyn

    Sarah,

    I’m really just a woman looking for any excuse to eat bacon and/or chocolate. I have a theory that any food can be improved by the addition of one or the other. Therefore, a combination of the two has to be the perfect food. The health benefits are just an added perk :-)

  • Sara

    I have a theory that any food can be improved with the addition of bacon. ;)

  • Liz

    Whoa! OK, I love bacon just as much as the next person, but let’s not get too carried away. Bacon contains a lot more than just nitrites. Since you all know and love bacon, you will recall the grease puddles that form when you cook it and the grease it leaves on your fingers and face when you so lovingly devour it. Well, that is called saturated fat, which not only clogs your drain but also clogs your arteries leading to an increased risk of a heart attack. Sorry, didn’t mean to burst anyone’s bubble. Healthier alternatives: tempeh bacon or turkey bacon – less saturated fat and similar bacon-y taste.

  • Brian

    Whoa! yourself there Liz, there are plenty of new studies showing that the eating of fat — saturated or otherwise does not clog arteries… I just have to look at my own personal numbers for evidence…

    5 years ago eating a ‘low-fat and high carb’ diet my cholesterol was through the roof, 250 with LDL count being 175 and HDL 75. I went on a high protein, high fat diet and little to no carbs. Not only did I lose 75 pound of fat, but my cholesterol is now 152 –LDL 72 HDL 80, and my blood pressure went from 140/90 to 110/70 … So for me bacon works — and steak and whole eggs and avocados — well the list goes on and on… ;)

    Now, I’m not saying this works for everyone, but it sure the heck worked for me :)

  • Liz

    Hey Brian, you bring up a great point about HEALTHY fats. There are positive health benefits of certain fats, and they are a very important part of a healthy diet. Foods containing Omega-3 fats (such as fish) are shown to have many health-promoting effects. It is important to be aware that fats can indeed be very harmful, such as trans-fats in fried foods and margarine. It is important to consider the type of fat you are consuming, because saturated fats REALLY DO CLOG YOUR ARTERIES if consumed excessively. If you eat lean meat and some seafood, you’ll be getting all the saturated fats you need – as they should be less than 1/3 of your total daily fat intake. You don’t need to go looking for more. On the other hand, if you consume high-fat animal foods such as bacon, chicken skin, and butter, you will easily overdose on saturated fats, which will tend to promote weight gain, inflammation, and cardiovascaular problems. Saturated fats are found in a few plant foods (avocados), where they are smaller and more readily burned as fuel than animal-based saturated fats, and so tend to be less troublesome.

  • Brian

    Well Liz, I guess we will have to agree to disagree. But, there are plenty of new studies that disprove the “Lipid Hypothesis”, and show that consumption of natural saturated fats both plant and animal, will help lower “bad” cholesterol…

    But on the bright side, I couldn’t agree more with the trans fat portion of your comment. :)

  • Liz

    In regards to the ‘high protein, high fat, little to no carbs diet’ (aka: Atkins Diet):

    Even though this diet is indicated to help people lose weight, I’m not so sure this diet is a healthy long-term solution. Atkins did not intend for it to be a life-long diet. It is meant as a quick way to get the weight off, thereby decreasing strain on one’s heart. High-fat, high-protein diets work because you become satiated with less caloric intake, thereby decreasing your total calorie consumption = weight loss. When you lose weight, people tend to lose cholesterol. However, high cholesterol is NOT the only indicator for heart disease, it is merely one of many, so I wouldn’t assume that just because the Atkins diet can sometimes lower cholesterol that it is actually benefiting your whole body. A healthy long-term diet would consist of a rainbow of foods, including lots of veggies, fruits and fiber, in addition to healthy fats and protein.

  • Liz

    Brian – show me these studies – I’m open to the debate.

  • Brian

    Well Liz, personally I feel no need to convince you or debate. You are entitled to your opinions, as I am to mine. But if you are interested in reading some of those studies, all you need to do is Google ‘saturated fat myth’ or ‘Dr. Malcolm Kendrick’. The spiked-online essay is a particularly good starting point.

    I believe, that we as a society tend to run from one fad to the next, instead of looking at what works for us as an individual — we aren’t all the same, and I think ancestry has a lot to do with what foods work for an individual. I find eating a whole food, balanced diet works the best for me, and that includes a large percentage of protein and fats — all natural fats animal or vegetable — and carbs that come from fresh vegetables, fruits, berries and nuts with little to no grains. But that’s me, and after 5 years I feel the best I ever have and am in the best health I ever have been, and I have been an athlete my entire life.

    Is this the best approach for you, who knows maybe maybe not, but if you listen to your body it will tell you what is right… and those quacky doctor can even confirm it for you. .. though mine did not believe me at first, he is a believer now…

  • Liz

    Brian:
    Like you, I am also a big fan of individualized diets and I am not a fan of fad diets at all. The reason I asked for the info was to learn about the studies you mentioned, as I am interested to know all aspects of the issue so I can educate myself and others. Keeping a wide perspective about health, not specific to you or me, I still advocate healthier forms of fat than bacon in general. I’m not saying don’t ever eat bacon, I’m saying eat it in moderation because it is the saturated-type that MOST peoples’ bodies need less of relative to other types of fat. So, my one hope is that people might read this and take note that it might be a good idea to get a variety of different fats in your diet, and not rely on bacon to save your life.

  • http://www.istanbulmotokurye.com Moto Kurye

    thanks for your subject.

  • smart American

    raise terror and violence caused by gangs in America awareness!!!!

  • smart American

    MS-13, bloods, crips, fake wanabees who pursue violence anyway….these people need to die by their own devices bc i dont want my tax dollars going towards giving them a 5-10 year vacation in fed. prison

    • olivia

      your right! I’d rather spend my tax dollars on crooked politicians who support the upper class who pay little to no taxes. Better them than the uneducated, undeserving poor.

  • Annie

    Can’t you just state a fact? It sounds like you are making this up. What a load of rubbish!

  • George Patton

    Totally misleading article headline. As some of the other commenters noted, you posted ZERO studies to support your claim. Quit making stuff up!

  • Nathan

    Just did the research on nitrates and nitrites. First of all, nirates NO3- and NO2- may appear similar to a non chemist, they behave very differently chemically. Bacon (and other meats) is preserved with sodium nitrite, nitrites are toxic to living tissues, and is used as a bacterial inhibitor, but if you consume enough, it is toxic to humans as well. Furthermore, when you fry your bacon, the sodium nitrite reacts with amino acids in the meat and produces nitrosamines, which are carcinogenic. So when you eat your cooked bacon you’re not even getting the nitrites (which I have been unable to find any notable health benefits from), you’re getting a carcinogenic product of them, you’d have to eat your bacon raw to get the full nitrites from it. Furthermore, the nitrites in bacon are minimal compared to the saturated fat and LDL cholesterol it contains. LDL cholesterol will build up in your heart and arteries, and saturated fat is pure calories.
    So, bacon is not good for you, and never will be. That said, I’m going to fry up a couple strips and enjoy myself, because not everything you eat has to be good for you to be healthy, so long as you don’t overindulge.