Not only is bacon considered a red meat, it's also a member of the dreaded "processed meat" group (even turkey bacon falls into this category. And NO amount of processed meat is considered safe to eat, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research.
Bacon is a processed meat, but the amount of processing and the ingredients used vary between manufacturers. Bacon is made from pork and goes through a curing process where it is soaked in salt, nitrates and other ingredients.
Processed meats are meats that have been preserved by smoking or salting, curing or adding chemical preservatives. They include deli meats, bacon and hot dogs.
Processed meat is a meat that has been treated in some way to preserve or flavor it through salting, curing, fermenting, and smoking, says Doyle. Think: bacon, sausages, hot dogs, canned meat and other cured meats like salami.
A process that is better for you and much more flavorful! Simply put, uncured bacon is bacon that has not been cured with synthetically-sourced nitrates and nitrites. Instead, uncured bacon is cured with natural nitrates, found in celery, beets, and other veggies.
One of the dietary benefits of bacon is that it has a high protein to fat ratio, making it a good source of animal protein. It does contain fat, of course; about half is saturated fat, while about half of the fat content is unsaturated or "healthy fat" and contains Omega-3 fatty acids, which do have health benefits.
Eggs are not only high in protein, they also contain many vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. So, bacon and eggs really can be a healthy breakfast option, if eaten in moderation.
Lean meats, such as Canadian bacon low-fat turkey, low-fat chicken, lean cuts of pork or lean cuts of beef, all in moderation, are also healthy sources of breakfast-type proteins and perfect to add to an egg white omelet.
In light of the more recent evidence, it's best to reduce your intake of all processed meats to once every couple of weeks. Therefore, keeping your bacon intake to a minimum is recommended – eating it every couple of weeks is best.
One of the biggest risks of bacon is associated with two preservatives, nitrates and nitrites, that can form cancer-causing compounds. In addition to increasing your risk of colon and stomach cancer, eating processed meat increases your risk of prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer, and dying from all types of cancer.
“Certainly bacon is not a health food, and I don't advise consuming it on a daily basis,” she says. “But if you eat a couple strips of bacon at brunch on the weekend, I don't think it's going to present a significant health risk—as long as your overall diet is sensible and healthy.”
Bacon and ham both have a lot of calories. Bacon has 241% more calories than ham, with 898 calories per 100 grams compared to 263 calories in ham. In terms of macronutrient ratios, bacon is lower in protein, higher in fat, and similar in carbs to ham.
Buy uncured bacon
The first thing I want to look for when trying to eat healthier bacon is to buy uncured bacon. This is bacon that has not had any added sodium nitrate to it. This is what most bacon makers as to their bacon to preserve and color the bacon - gives it that nice bright pink color.
Healthiest Way to Cook Bacon
The healthiest way to make bacon is to pan-fry it until crispy so that most of the fat melts off it. Be careful not to burn the bacon, increasing your carcinogen consumption. The best way to reduce the fat and calories in a bacon slice is to drain it well.
Bacon is an approved food for diets like Atkins, Paleo, and Keto, because it is a zero carb food. Research has found that eating fewer carbohydrates increases the number of calories you burn. This means that a bacon breakfast can be an important part of your weight loss or maintenance plan.
Some restaurant breakfast entrees come with a side of bacon or sausage. And believe it or not, it's usually best to choose bacon. Although both meats are high in fat and saturated fat, two links of sausage will cost you a bit more in calories and fat than three strips of bacon.
Eating too many bananas may have detrimental health effects, such as weight gain, poor blood sugar control, and nutrient deficiencies.
If you are looking for unprocessed meat for breakfast, choose lean cuts of beef, chicken, pork, veal, and lamb because these have lower fat content and are packed with more protein. Yes, this means you can enjoy a lean cut of steak for breakfast! Don't forget about fish!
Turkey bacon is a highly processed meat product and should be eaten in moderation. Many studies have found that regularly eating processed meats may increase your risk of heart disease and diabetes by 42% and 19%, respectively ( 9 ).
Unprocessed or minimally processed foods: Think vegetables, grains, legumes, fruits, nuts, meats, seafood, herbs, spices, garlic, eggs and milk. Make these real, whole foods the basis of your diet.
Bacon, egg and cheese on toast also comes packed with protein. Protein nourishes your skin and hair to help you look your best, helps you maintain lean muscle tissue and also contributes to blood cell growth.
Everything's (not) better with bacon
High in saturated fat, just 3–4 slices of bacon represents about a fifth of your daily limit for saturated fat. Eating too much saturated fat will raise your cholesterol levels, increasing your risk for heart disease.
It also contains saturated fat and high amounts of sodium, though, so keep your portion sizes to no more than two strips per meal and enjoy it no more than two to three times per week rather than eating bacon every day.