Bacon. Isn’t the name enough to make you crave it?
This salty pork product has been the topic of much discussion in the fitness and food worlds. Varying opinions exist on whether bacon fits into an easy diet to follow. One thing is for sure, it’s delicious.
The collective obsession with bacon is all too real right now. These days people are pairing different types of bacon with pretty much every category of food.
When it comes to planning a simple diet plans, there are some questions that arise. The most common is probably Is bacon good for you? Here are a few others that you might be wondering about.
- Does bacon go bad?
- Is it healthy?
- How good is sugar-free bacon?
- Is there a limit to the amount you can have?
So, if you are wondering what the answers to these questions are and you are looking to know a lot more about bacon, here is your chance. In this article, I am going to share some insight about bacon, in an effort to help you balance healthy foods with delicious ones.
Some diets like Paleo and other high protein, high fat diets encourage bacon, while some others do not. We’ll take a look at these considerations and help you see where it fits into your diet.
What Is Bacon?
Perhaps, you are already aware of the fact that bacon actually comes from a pig. Ever since 1500 BC, bacon has been around and in all these years, methods for making this delicious treat have only improved.
It is actually the belly of a pig that is used for making bacon. This also explains its high fat content. However, if you look at places outside America, you will find that even loin or shoulder cuts of a pig are used for making bacon. As soon as the meat is cut from the pig, it then needs to be thoroughly cured and this is done using a combination of salt and sugar.
Sometimes, nitrates can be used too in the making of bacon—you want to avoid this. The meat also needs to be dried thoroughly and the curing period can stretch from weeks to even months. The most delicious bacon is smoked, in my opinion!
What About Veggie Bacon?
If you’re a vegetarian, have at it. If not, you might as well go for the real thing.
You may find a lot of people trying to convince you that non-pig bacon is the healthier choice. The big question is how much of this is true? One of the common impostors we so often find has to be turkey bacon.
If you take a closer look at the ingredient list of such turkey bacon, you will find that they often just modified different bits of turkey to ensure that they can get the perfect bacon shape. It is certainly not bacon by any means.
Real bacon has some fat content to it, so instead of seeking out alternatives which are still heavily salted and possibly heavily processed, the real thing, in smart proportions and at appropriate times can be a more healthy option! Even a study done by WebMD suggests if you stick to one ounce you should be fine.
Are All Bacons Created Equal?
Bad Bacon: This is the kind of bacon which is highly processed and contains huge amount of artificial ingredients soaked in preservatives. This is the type of bacon you need to avoid. There is plenty of quality bacon where the unwanted stuff has been avoided.
Good bacon: Less, ingredients means the product started with higher quality meat and is most likely much more fresh. These are unprocessed and contain little else but pork, brown sugar, salt and water. As always, the closer to the farm, the higher quality your food generally will be.
Uncured Bacon Isn’t Real
There is no such thing as uncured bacon. When you are making bacon, you have to cure it or else the pork belly doesn’t change to bacon. This means there will be salt used in any bacon product. If your doctor has warned you about your sodium levels, you’ll want to tread lightly with any salted meat product.
Nitrate Free Bacon And What Are Nitrates?
Nitrates and nitrites are often discussed along with bacon. You’ll often see nitrate free bacon advertised at higher prices. The big question is whether the increased cost is worth it.
Nitrates are present in our vegetables and you also get it in some quantity in cured meats as well. The microorganisms which are present in the digestive tract of our body helps in converting the nitrates to nitrites and some can act as carcinogens.
Basically, when you are heating meat and at extremely high temperatures, it can lead to production of nitrosamines which is a carcinogen. Another thing you need to know is that some companies that say nitrate free actually use celery instead of sodium nitrite. So, you’ll have to make your own call on nitrate free bacon.
Is Bacon Good For You?
Now, I hate to break this to you but having too much of bacon can be hard for your body because it does contain a lot of sodium. Those who are following Paleo must already be aware of the need to cut down on sodium from your diet. If you are overweight and you want to shed the extra pounds, too much of red meat is going to impede your progress.
Further, if you are eating processed bacon, you’re adding a number of unwanted chemicals to your diet. There are studies that state both sides of the coin as you will find people arguing that bacon is a healthy choice because of its protein and animal fat needed for growth. Moderation is always key.
Cooking Bacon On The Stove
Bacon might well be the easiest thing which you can cook. Here are the steps you need to follow.
- Place the pan on the stove top and make sure to let it warm a bit before you throw the bacon on.
- Now, you should place little strips of bacon side by side to each other. Ideally, I place four to five of them together. When they will start to sizzle, you will find that they are going to shrink a little. After say 5 minutes or so, you should lip them over.
- Unless they become crisp, keep monitoring the progress of bacon.
- Once you are sure that the bacon has been cooked thoroughly, you can turn off the heat and make sure to remove them one at a time. Ideally blot it with clean paper towels so that you get rid of the unwanted grease.
- Now, it’s time to chow.
Some Other Facts
There are a few other fun facts about bacon you can share with your buddies.
- There is now bacon beer and bacon vodka. There is even toilet paper!
- If you google any actor, you can simply add “Kevin Bacon number” to the name of the actor and this will give you the degrees of separation.
- The father of Philadelphia was named Edmund Bacon.
To wrap this all up, there are a few keys to keep in mind as you navigate the craze. Too much bacon can be a bad thing but like other foods, the quality of the meat and the amount of processing are essential to consider. Always opt for fresher, more natural meats and keep an eye on your sodium intake. Keep moderation in perspective but feel free to enjoy this delicious treat every now and then!
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