Bringing home the bacon

I’ve already told you (at least twice) about the nutritional benefits of eggs. And how they may be one of Nature’s perfect foods. But what about the other half of America’s favorite breakfast?

When people today think of bacon, they think of heart disease. (I’ve heard it called “a heart attack on a plate” on more than one occasion.)

But unless you’re getting your nutritional information from the back of a cereal box, bacon is better for you than what you have been led to believe. 

The Europeans believe that bacon, and the fat it contains (lard), is actually a healthy addition to the diet, along with other beneficial fats and proteins.

Years ago, lard was also quite common in the U.S.. In fact, a spoonful of lard was able to get people who were starving to death back on their feet literally overnight during the 1800’s in the American west.

But then the government made up its mind that saturated fats are “unhealthy.” And they declared that lard was too high in these supposedly “unhealthy” fats. So we shifted to the use of hydrogenated plant oils (aka., vegetable shortening). But this man-made, artificial lard substitute has actually made us fatter and sicker.

The trans fats found in vegetable shortening have been linked directly to heart disease morbidity and mortality. Lard contains no trans fats.

One tablespoon of lard contains:

• 5.9 grams of saturated fatty acids

• 6.4 grams monounsaturated fatty acids

• 2 grams polyunsaturated fatty acids (mostly omega-6)

One tablespoon of vegetable shortening contains:

• 3.8 grams saturated fatty acids

• 6.7 grams monounsaturated fatty acids
• 3.9 grams polyunsaturated fatty acids (mostly omega-6)

• 2 grams trans fatty acids

Of course, one of the big concerns about bacon is its cholesterol content. But as I revealed in the August 2012 issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter, cholesterol in food sources does not translate to cholesterol in the blood or tissues. Or to heart disease.

Any cholesterol that is present in foods (such as bacon) is chemically broken down during digestion.

In fact, the liver actually uses cholesterol to form bile acids. Bile acids facilitate the digestion of dietary fats by emulsifying them. Which also helps the body absorb fat soluble vitamins like A, D, and E, from foods. 

But there are a few things to keep in mind when you’re bringing home the bacon…

Look for bacon that is nitrite-free. Nitrite (listed on ingredient labels as “sodium nitrite”) is a preservative used in bacon production to prevent spoilage and to keep it a deep red color. However, nitrite is also listed as a known carcinogen.  

And skip the turkey bacon altogether. While most people think it’s “healthier,” take one look at the label and you’ll see that nothing could be further from the truth. The ingredient lists of most brands of turkey bacon read like a laundry list of foreign ingredients. Things like hydrolyzed corn gluten, soy protein, wheat gluten, disodium inosinate, silicon dioxide and nitrites. None of which are good for you or need be present in so-called “healthy” foods.